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10 Simple Arts and Crafts Activities for After School

by Jean Van't Hul
March 5, 2023
after school arts and crafts featured

Here are arts and crafts activities that are easy and simple to set up for after school or whenever needed. Download your FREE printable for easy reference!

Updated March 2023

Sometimes that after school/before dinner time can be tricky. Everyone is tired and dinner needs to be made. But you still want to connect with your kids. We’ve found that having simple arts and crafts activities set up for after school can help make this time be calmer and happier.

Here are 10 simple ideas to keep in your back pocket. Sort of a cheat sheet that you can put on the fridge and refer to for quick inspiration. For each activity, we’ve listed what to set out, a brief description of the process, and a few possible variations.

And make sure to grab the printable as well as an easy reference!

arts and crafts activities pinterest

Easy Arts and Crafts Activities

watercolor resist
Photo by Andrea Martelle
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1. Crayon and Watercolor Resist Art

Set out:

The process: Let kids draw with crayons, then bring out the watercolors to paint over the drawings.

Variations:

  • Use oil pastels.
  • Draw with white crayons on white paper, then reveal the mystery drawing by painting over it.
paper dolls
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

2. Cut Paper Art

Set out:

The process: Let kids fold, cut, and decorate paper.

Variations: Try snowflakes, origami, paper hats, boats, mobiles, fans, collage, or paper dolls.

contact paper suncatcher
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

3. Contact Paper Suncatcher

Set out:

The process: Either cut the contact paper into squares and tape to the table sticky side up or stick to a paper plate with the center cut out. Let kids tear or cut the tissue paper into pieces then stick them to the contact paper. Cover with another sheet of contact paper and hang in the window.

Variations:

  • Use flowers, leaves, and other nature items instead of tissue paper.
  • Try ribbons, lace, or feathers.
making collages
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

4. Collage

Set out:

The process: Let kids glue collage items to the cardstock as desired.

Variations:

Marshmallow Sculptures
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

5. Toothpick Sculptures

Set out:

  • Toothpicks
  • Mini Marshmallows (stale works best)

The process: Let kids build using the toothpicks and marshmallows.

Variations: Try using grapes instead of marshmallows for a healthy after school snack!

q tip pointillism
Photo by Andrea Martelle

6. Q-tip Pointillism

Set out:

The process: Let kids dip Q-tips in paint then press on paper to make a picture with dots.

Variations:

  • Try cotton balls for larger dots.
  • Use Do-A-Dot markers or regular markers.
  • Try two primary colors together to see if you can create the illusion of color mixing.
fruit and vegetable printing
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

7. Printing with Fruits & Vegetables

Set out:

  • Paper
  • Paints
  • One or more fruits such as a lemon or apple cut in half.

The process: Dip fruit in paint then press to paper.

Variations:

  • Try printing with other objects such as leaves, animal figure feet, kitchen tools.
  • Get out the stamp pad and stamps.
  • Try fingerprint art.
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

8. Hole Challenge Drawings

Set out:

  • Paper with a hole cut out of it.
  • Something to draw with: pen, pencil, marker, etc.

The process: Let kids draw on the hole paper as they see fit.

Variations:

  • Try different size, shape, or number of holes.
  • Cut the paper into different shapes.
  • Try adding stickers.
  • Try this with paints or collage items.
masking tape rainbow arts and crafts activities
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

9. Masking Tape Art

Set out:

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape

The process: Let kids cut or tear masking tape into pieces and adhere to paper in any way desired.

Variations:

  • Offer multiple colors and widths of tape.
  • Draw or paint over the masking tape art then remove the tape.
little girl drawing with markers arts and crafts activities
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

10. Simply Drawing / Simply Painting

Set out:

  • Paper
  • Drawing tools or paints

The process: Let kids draw and paint! No need to get fancy.

Variations: You can vary the papers, sizes, kinds of paint, kinds of drawing tools…

We hope you try these 10 simple arts and crafts activities to help make the after-school transition smooth and creative!

Here’s a FREE printable of these simple arts and crafts activities.

10 Simple Arts and Crafts Activities to Set Up for After School

Feel free to print it out and tape it inside your kitchen cupboard or hang it on your fridge for easy reference!

We love to see kids artwork! Share yours on Instagram with the hashtag #artfulparent.

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10 Simple Arts and Crafts Activities for After School

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