The best kinds of crafts for kids are free kid crafts. It's so much easier and less stressful to come up with ideas that are free or don't cost a lot of money than to put a lot of time, effort and expense into planning a craft project that your child doesn't like. With a little imagination you can turn a long, boring afternoon into an opportunity for learning and exploring with free kid crafts.
Crafting and the Library
Whenever I think of ways to save money or do things for free, the first thing I think of is the library (it probably dates me that I don't mention the Internet first, but we'll get to that in a minute).
The library is a wonderland for kids of all ages (and grownups, too). You can find books on crafts for kids and informational books that might inspire you to make crafts. If you find a book with crafting instructions in it that you really like, use the photocopier at the library or take it to a copy shop and have copies made. This takes the project out of the realm of free, but it will only cost you a few cents to make copies.
Reference books for kids and story books that are educational can also be an inspiration for craft projects, which I'll talk about in a minute.
Crafts on the Internet
As anyone who frequents this site knows, there are an immense number of sites on the Internet devoted to crafts for kids. Many sites give ideas on free kids crafts of low-cost projects you can do with your kids.
One of the great things about the Internet is the vast amount of free stuff that you can find, print out and use with your kids. You can find animals and other shapes to print out, cut out and color, free coloring book pages, activity books and much more.
(We also have a few printables here at LovetoKnow that you can use to make free kids crafts.)
These printables can provide wonderful learning opportunities for your child. If you're trying to teach him or her the alphabet, for example, you can find coloring pages and practice pages that your child can use to learn the letters.
You can find coloring pages filled with animals and tons of sites with ideas for crafts using paper, wood, materials found outdoors and much more. No matter what kind of free kids crafts you'd like to do, odds are you'll find something about it on the Internet.
My favorite kind of free kid crafts are those that involve an element of education as well as creativity. Combining a craft project with a trip to the library and a visit outdoors can make for a full day of fun and learning.
Here's an example. Say you wanted to teach your child about the stars and planets. You could start out at the library, checking out books and videos on the subject. Then you might search online for some printables of the planets, or simply have your child draw the planets based on pictures in the books.
You could then cut out the pictures and make a night-sky mobile. Maybe you could also use star-shaped cookie cutters to make sugar cookies or stars out of play dough. Then the whole family can head outside and watch the sun set and try to identify some of the stars you see coming out. Don't forget to wish on a star while you're there!
If you have a zoo in your hometown, a visit to the zoo could encourage crafting as well. Have your child draw the animals he or she saw, or you could even try to craft animals out of paper towel rolls, paper plates, cotton balls and other stuff you've got lying around the house. Checking out a book about baby animals or the animals of Africa could also help you and your child learn more things about the animals they have seen.
Using a little creativity can allow you and your child to do a lot of free kid crafts that are both fun and educational.