Simple Arts and Crafts Activities

10 Simple Art Activities to Set Up for After School

These simple arts and crafts activities are simple and are quick low prep set up after school or whenever you need them. A FREE printable is available, too, for easy reference.

Young girl working on a simple art after school

I created a list for my friend Jen of 10 simple arts and crafts activities to set up for after school (or whenever). Sort of a cheat sheet that she could tape inside her art cupboard door and refer to for quick inspiration. For each activity, I listed what to set out, a brief description of the process, and a few possible variations.

And since I think we can all use ideas and reminders, here’s the list (make sure to grab the printable as well as an easy reference!):

10 Simple Arts and Crafts Activities

1. Crayon-Watercolor Resist

Crayon-watercolor resist art

Set out: Watercolor paper and crayonsThis post contains affiliate links.

The process: Let kids draw for a while then bring out the watercolors to paint over the drawings

Variations: Use oil pastels. Draw white on white then reveal the mystery drawing by painting over it. Paint overleaf crayon rubbings.

For more ideas & variations, see 6 Amazing Watercolor Resist Techniques for Kids

2. Paper Cut ArtYoung girl working on a simple art after school

Set out: Construction paper, scissors, hole punch, and tape or glue stick

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

Variations: Try snowflakes, origami, paper hats, boats, sculptures, mobiles, fans, collage, paper dolls, pop-ups, flaps, etc.

3. Contact Paper Suncatchercontact paper sun catcher with tissue paper cut outs

Set out: Clear contact paper (cut into squares and taped to the table sticky side up) and colored tissue paper

The process: Let the 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.

4. CollageSimple arts and crafts activity - collage

Set out: Cardstock, a glue bottle, and collage items such as beans, feathers, and buttons.

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

Variations: Draw a picture then fill in with collage items. Glue collage items to a cardboard box for a 3-D experience.

5. Toothpick SculpturesToothpick with marshmallow for simple arts and crafts activities

Set out: Toothpicks and marshmallows (stale works best)

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

Variations: Other easy sculptural activities include pipe cleaners, straws, and tape, playdough and tools, cardboard boxes and glue, bread dough and raisins.

6. Q-tip Pointillism

Simple arts and crafts activities using Q-tip pointillism technique

Set out: Paint, paper, and Q-tips

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.

7. Printing with Fruits & VegetablesSimple arts and crafts - painting with vegetable

Set out: Paper, paints, and 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.

8. Hole “Challenge” DrawingsSimple arts and crafts activities - hole art

Set out: Paper with a hole cut out of it and a pen

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. Use white paper, colored construction paper, or large poster board. Glue a paper shape to a piece of paper. Offer different drawing tools. Try this with paints or collage items.

9. Masking Tape ArtA young girl tearing marking tape to pieces and adhering to paper.

Set out: Paper, scissors, and 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.

10. Simply Drawing / Simply PaintingA young girl drawing with pencil and crayons

Set out: Paper and drawing tool 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…

So there you have it. 10 simple arts and crafts activities to set up for after school. Quick and low prep activities. I have put them in one file you.

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!

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Simple Art Activities

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57 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathy
    May 19, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Great ideas for art that’s easy to do with the materials that are on hand. I like setting out art supplies or art books that we haven’t used for a while to see what creative things happen — sometimes an art technique that we had gotten a bit tired from overuse will seem fresh and new again after a little break and with the colors and mood of a new season to add inspiration to our creativity!

  • Reply
    Darcy Troutman
    May 19, 2011 at 8:25 am

    A great list!! Thank you!!

  • Reply
    smilymel
    May 19, 2011 at 8:27 am

    great list – sometimes its great just to have a reminder of the simple things. Thanks!

  • Reply
    MaryLea @ pink and green mama
    May 19, 2011 at 8:45 am

    This is great Jean!! I’ve printed mine and taped it to the art cupboard.
    I also shared with my readers on Facebook!! : )

  • Reply
    Isil
    May 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Great list,thank you very much. We made the marshmallow sculptures last week,great fun!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    May 19, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Yesterday my daughter had a friend over for an art playdate (2nd grade readers) and they just read the list and decided which one they wanted to do….inspired me to have a few more ideas ready…such independent artists!! Thanks Jean!

  • Reply
    the color palette: exploring art with kids
    May 19, 2011 at 9:29 am

    great ideas my girls always love when I set up something as a surprise for them to craft or make :)

  • Reply
    Rhianna
    May 19, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Awesome ideas thank you so much for sharing it

  • Reply
    Martha Bernhard
    May 19, 2011 at 9:53 am

    THANK YOU SO MUCH. WHAT A BIG HELP!

  • Reply
    Carrie @Rhubarb Sky
    May 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    This is great! Thank you. I love it when I’m on my game and the kiddo comes home to an art project after school.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    May 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks! I have my print-out taped up, too! We all need reminders!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    May 19, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I was just thinking about setting out marshmallows and toothpicks today!

  • Reply
    Kari
    May 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    This is wonderful, Jean! Thanks so so much!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    May 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    That’s awesome, Jen. Do you have any art books around for them to peruse? THe library has a lot of MaryAnn Kohl’s books…

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    May 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Mine, too!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    May 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Ditto about being “on my game.” I’m not always, but I try!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    May 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    May 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Would someone mind sending me the list of 10 simple art activities. For some reason, when I click on it I get a blank page. I’m eager to try them with my daughter.
    Thanks!
    Pearly
    [email protected]

  • Reply
    Melinda-LookWhatMomFound..and Dad too!
    May 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I really like the qtip art idea

  • Reply
    julia
    May 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    This is GREAT! Thank you! I will use it at home and my classroom too!
    Thank you!
    Julia

  • Reply
    Adelle F.
    May 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    GREAT post!

  • Reply
    Adelle F.
    May 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    But I’m getting a blank page, too! Jean, are you able to email that directly? [email protected]

  • Reply
    Chapter Forty
    May 19, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    What a wonderful resource your blog is. Your list will be well utilised here.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    May 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    I’ll send it to you… -Jean

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    May 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Oh no! Yes, I’ll email the pdf directly.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    May 19, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Thanks so much. I just printed it out and I am ready to go for tomorrow. You are so kind.

  • Reply
    Maria
    May 19, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    simplegirl
    May 19, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    what a great resource! thank you!!

  • Reply
    Naturally Chic Mama
    May 20, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    cheap mlb jerseys
    May 20, 2011 at 4:10 am

    This is great Jean!! I’ve printed mine and taped it to the art cupboard.

  • Reply
    Suzie
    May 20, 2011 at 5:49 am

    Blank page for me too – any chance of an email? Thanks Jean, Suzie ([email protected]) PS: Love love love your blog!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 20, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I wonder why some of you are getting blank pages? Whenever I try it, it works for me. Hmm… Yes, I will email you the pdf! -Jean

  • Reply
    Carly
    May 20, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Sorry Jean, can you email it to me too please? All I see is grey. [email protected]
    Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    May 20, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Yep!

  • Reply
    Jeanie
    May 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I love this list! What kind of glue do you use for the collage — white elmer’s glue? My three year old daughter is in love with glue-sticks, but they aren’t so great for heavier 3D stuff. (And when we use glitter glue or white glue she squeezes out such copious amounts of the stuff that it becomes a little, uh, challenging to work with). Any good glue tips? Thanks! :^)

  • Reply
    ania
    May 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you!

  • Reply
    Lily
    May 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Those are great in their simplicity but really sound like a lot of fun! I generally don’t enjoy the mess of setting artsy stuff up but these feel very manageable to me! My children thank you!!!

  • Reply
    CZD
    May 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Would you send it to me too? I also keep getting a blank page.
    Thanks so much for this wonderful blog. It’s an inspiration!
    [email protected]

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    May 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    We use both. Glue sticks for paper collage; glue bottles for most everything else. Maia (and most of her friends) used to do the same thing with glue bottles — squeeze and squeeze until there were puddles on the paper! It was as much (or more!) about squeezing the glue out as using the glue for anything (like sticking two things together). I just went with it because she seemed to love it so much and because glue is so cheap. If you’d rather not, here are two ideas:
    First, you can put some glue in a little dish and use it with a small brush or a q-tip. This will work for most collage materials but also limits the amount of glue used.
    Second, perhaps try to help your daughter get her squeezing fix in another way. Do some puffy painting: http://artfulparent.typepad.com/artfulparent/2008/03/playing-with-puffy-paint.html. Put water in an empty glue bottle for her to squeeze outside. Let her squeeze icing or batter or something out of an icing bag or plastic bag with a hole in the corner.
    And realize that this too shall pass…

  • Reply
    Julie
    May 21, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Great list! Thanks!

  • Reply
    megan
    May 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    This list is fabulous! Do you mind if I print a few copies to include with my usual birthday party gift of art supplies? I think the parents would really appreciate the ideas.

  • Reply
    lily
    May 22, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    how long does it take until chicken pox go away?

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    May 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Fine by me!

  • Reply
    kathleen
    May 25, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Hi,
    I am also getting a blank page and the list sounds exactly what I am after as my two girls are always asking to do art & craft activities.
    would you please email me the pdf as well.
    Thanks
    Kathleen

  • Reply
    Tassy
    May 25, 2011 at 8:19 am

    This is brilliant, thank you! Perfect for those of us who don’t feel totally in their own element when thinking up arty activities for our kids.
    I’ve been lurking and reading your blog for ages, but I’ve got the courage up to ask now – any chance of a similar list to encourage those kids who aren’t always very engaged by art activities. My little one usually plays with the equipment for a few minutes and then wanders off. He’s 2 and a half now, so I think I need to be a bit more creative in what I am offering him!!

  • Reply
    Donnavie
    June 3, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I’m excited to print out this list. I love doing art with my kids but sometimes I run out of ideas. I’m pulling up a blank page as well. Can you please send the list to [email protected]??
    Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    courtney
    June 13, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    hi,
    was wondering if i could get this list sent to me to as its coming up blank..
    thanks
    [email protected]

  • Reply
    Lea
    June 16, 2011 at 2:11 am

    With the end of the school year fast approaching and admittedly a little panic setting in, your ideas will be my go to for rainy days. Thx for sharing!

  • Reply
    Amberley
    June 19, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Hi Jean, I just found your blog and love it! I am getting a blank screen as well, I would love an email, if you have the time! Thank you

  • Reply
    Meghan
    September 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for taking the legwork out of this! I’m printing this & taping it on the inside of my arts & crafts cupboard. And reposting at http://meandthekids.net/!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    October 25, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you for this list! I printed it out last spring for my own use and have shared it with friends here:
    http://lelandmops.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/rain-rain-please-please-stay-weve-got-lots-to-do-today/

  • Reply
    vania
    October 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    hi there
    i too would love this but get a blank screen. can you email it to me? My son is now 2 and we would love this!

  • Reply
    em
    July 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Love your blog. I am also getting a balnk screen and would love this lsit. Can you please email me? [email protected]
    Thank you!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    September 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    im having the same problem, there is just a blank page.. thanks Kathy

  • Reply
    chloe bennett
    November 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

    As an Art educator, I appreciate and adore this list!! Great ideas. As a child, I was always “bored” and wanting to create. I’m still the same! But this list should be printed out by all parents and posted to the fridge for those “bored” moments! Thank you.

  • Reply
    Amanda Medlin
    January 19, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    LOVE your blog! Would you mind emailing me the list as well. Thanks! amandamedlin1 (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Susanne dominic
    May 10, 2019 at 5:24 am

    I strongly think that afterschools dont have any negative impact on children or there are any consequences due to these programs.They do contribute to the development of children in a huge number of ways.Also I recently found this site https://www.afterschoolproviders.com/ where one could find quality afterschools for children.

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