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The temperature is (slowwww-ly) dropping, the days are getting shorter, and everything seems to be a reminder that winter is coming (full disclosure: I don’t even watch Game of Thrones). So in preparation for the indoor season, we thought we would share a quick list of our favorite creative websites for kids who like pulling out the craft supplies and making something. So get ahead of the game and give three cheers plus a sigh of relief for these wonderful sites that will keep the kids busy all winter long. Goodbye screen time, hello imagination!
Favorite #1 – MrPrintables
The coolest printables for kids on the web, hands down! What I love about the downloads is that they’re not just static printables – each and every one encourages creative play or continuation of the project on one’s own – and the designs are of the highest quality. Bonus? They are (unbelievably) all free to download instantly. For a great example, check out their Paper World Nature Scenes Printable
Favorite #2 – Le DADA de l’Enfant Terrible
The projects page over at DADA is CHOCK FULL of fun art projects with a cool, modern vibe! Though the site is in French (most browsers now offer translation) the lovely pictures document the processes clearly, and the downloadable content is obvious. This pocket paper castle-builder project is a b&b-tested winner!
Favorite #3 – Handmade Charlotte
Handmade Charlotte offers a huge variety of posts for kids and parents, but their DIY crafts are always especially first-rate. One of our favorites? Instructions for making this cardboard & wood modern farm eco-dollhouse!
Favorite #4 – Made by Joel
This site has inspired so many of our own DIY wood projects. Joel is refreshingly resourceful, often using recycled materials, spare parts, and scrap wood to make imaginative toys, sculptures, instruments, and more. The simple building projects provide great hands-on opportunities for kids who are into dabbling with tools and construction. Although there are a number of fan-favorite free printables (Paris!) this clever DIY flower-building toy has become one of our most prized projects.
Favorite #5 – Willowday
We love the way Willowday sees the world and plays with nature to create inspired (and fun!) crafts, activities, and art. Encouraging both creativity and appreciation of natural beauty, their inclusion on our favorites list was an absolute no-brainer. For a perfect introduction to Willowday, visit this original-project roundup post, featuring wreaths, dreamcatchers, Jack-o-lanterns, weavings, and the adorable Halloween leaf pumpkin trails and dandelion lions above!
Favorite #6 – TinkerLab
One of the best features of this blog is that it has a GENIUS developmental-based directory that will help you quickly navigate to art projects that fit the age range you’re looking for. In addition to fabulous art and science projects, there are also quite a few DIY supply tutorials, like this one to help you make your own paint with sweetened condensed milk!
Favorite #7 – Caine’s Arcade
This kid is the king of cardboard. If you haven’t heard Caine’s story yet, please take a few minutes to watch this – not only is it totally inspiring, it is just so freaking FUN! This will make you want to find every last piece of unused cardboard in your house and build something ammaaaaazzzzing.
Favorite #8 – Kid Can Doodle
A super fun site for aspiring artists, this offers loads of prompts, how-to’s, inspiration, and even a gallery where young doodlers can submit their own sketchings. The weekly challenge page could keep any kid busy for days and the experimental media post above is just one great example of creative doodling and imaginative process and teaching.
Favorite #9 – DIY.org
An interactive kid’s DIY paradise. With badges and level-climbing acting as incentives to work through projects that will help kids conquer a specific skill, this is a fantastic way to play, learn and interact with other makers. There are so many skill options, kids have equal opportunity to not only learn how to hone talents they’ve already decided they’re interested in but also discover new areas of interest. Parents can also follow their children’s activity by creating their own accounts to link up. More than anything else, the social aspect of this site is about learning-by-doing, “liking” by compounding on someone else’s idea – and isn’t that a breath of fresh air!
Favorite #10- ART BAR
Run by a designer, art teacher, and mom, ArtBar focuses on teaching art exploration and self-expression through experimental activities and open-ended invitations to create. Bar’s website is basically the best “how-to” ever for anyone looking to set up an at-home kids’ studio, complete with endless lessons, material tips, and even step-by-step instructions for DIY supplies and equipment. We’ve done so many of these projects ourselves, and around here a perennial favorite (for the kids and adults) are the Matisse Collages shown above.
BONUS PICK – hitrecord
Consider this the “deep cut” of creative websites kids could either use for inspiration, collaboration or creation, mostly because parent participation is a constant necessity for this one. hitRECord is a kind of social network/production company that offers up creative challenges, opportunities, networking, and inspiration for artists, designers, animators, musicians, actors, writers, etc. While everything is presented in the most responsible manner, this website was created for adult creatives and controversial/adult themes are things you will run across.
We’ve included this pick because, although geared toward adults, talented, focused, and ambitious kids could learn so much from the processes and interactions. And as is so often the case, the adult creatives on the site could surely benefit from their participation as well. Watch the video below for a more in-depth explanation. Even if you don’t end up becoming involved, it’s super fun to poke around this site just to see how it’s organized and what people are up to!
A couple of things you have to know and understand if you and your mini-maker join the community:
- Any member has the right to download and “re-mix” the content you share.
- One more time for emphasis – this is a site built for adult use. Kid participation with a parent has the potential to be a fantastic, fun learning experience, but navigating this site and process with them is a necessity.
- This is a business – familiarize yourself with all the rules and regulations ahead of time.
Have a creative kid who LOVES getting snail mail? Check out our favorite magazine subscriptions for mini-makers here! Or find a different kind of creative activity in our BIG collection of kids functional art projects.