Kids love crafting. It's so much fun for them to explore their creative side and to make something unique or useful with their very own hands. Crafting is something you can do with your children that doesn't cost a lot of money, but is incredibly fulfilling and can teach them valuable skills. Best of all, kids can learn to make one-of-a-kind, yet inexpensive gifts that family and friends are sure to treasure far more than store-bought items.
Little kids almost invariably love to make things with their hands, so it shouldn't be tough to get them involved in some of the craft ideas you'll find in this section. These sites have easy-to-replicate games, experiments, and homemade gift ideas for even the littlest crafters. All of them include high quality images and well-written instructions, and none of the sites charge membership fees.
The Crafty Crow -- This is a great website filled with all kinds of fun and educational craft projects you can do with young children. You'll find plenty of awesome homemade gift ideas, too.
Funology -- This site is full of all kinds of craft project instructions and activity guides. From crafts that double as science experiments (like making slime) to handmade gifts (like a shoebox treasure chest), these ideas run the gamut.
Crafts and Activities for Kids -- The Nestle Family site has lots of ideas (with pictures and instructions) for cool crafts you can do with your kids, and it's all neatly categorized and free to use.
Kidcraft -- This site is easy to navigate, and has tons of and tutorials for cool things you can make with your kids. Much of what you'll find is uploaded by other users, so there are always cute new ideas popping up - like recycled metal owls, cardboard wallets, and dinosaur soap. There are also lots of fun and unique recipe ideas.
Printable Templates -- Look here for pages upon pages of free printable patterns to help you create lessons, craft activities, and homemade gifts with young kids.
Crafting for Older Kids and Teens
With the popularity of user-driven sites like Etsy and Pinterest, crafting has become cool - even for teens and tweens. Even if your older kids aren't into arts and crafts, maybe some of the ideas in the pages that follow will provide a bit of inspiration. Crafting can be a positive activity to get your adolescents and teens involved in and though they may squirm a bit at first, they'll likely be excited about the prospect of creating one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and family without emptying their wallets. Try the following sites and pages for some craft ideas geared toward the older kids in your family.
Crafts for Older Children -- The ideas in this article are really creative and will probably hold the interest of the older, harder-to-please set. Find plenty of good ideas for homemade holiday gifts here, too.
30 Crafts for Tween Girls -- This photo gallery features tons of great ideas for crafty - and girly - things you can make and do with a preteen. Many of the suggestions would make amazing gifts, like homemade lip gloss and handcrafted hair ribbons.
"Boy Approved" Crafts -- As they get a bit older, boys sometimes lose interest in crafty activities. This is especially true if they've been led to believe that crafting is “for girls.” Try these fun - and non-frilly - ideas to please even the most craft-phobic young men.
Teen Crafts -- This About.com article has a lot of fun and diverse ideas for doing something crafty with your teen. Help them create something cool and totally personalized for their friends, like handmade cell phone cases or a DIY message board.
Before you get started on any kind of crafting or gift making, you'll need to gather the necessary materials and supplies. Depending on what you plan to do, you may need fabrics, glues, scissors, paper, paints, or a whole host of other items and tools. The retailers and wholesalers listed in this section all have longstanding reputations for having fair prices, carrying quality products, and offering good customer service. Even if you don't order anything from any of these merchants, you can peruse their sites to get ideas and explore the different materials and implements available.
Leathercrafting Supplies -- Tandy Leather has been the leading retail leather and leather craft supplier in the U.S. for many years. They have everything for leather enthusiasts of any level from the beginner to the expert, carry excellent products, and have great customer service.
Craft Supplies on Amazon -- You can find a wide variety of craft supplies for all kinds of projects on Amazon. Looking through some listings in the online marketplace is also a good way to comparison shop, since you can see products from a variety of sellers in one place.
Woodworking Tools -- Woodcrafting is a very rewarding hobby, and hand carved wood items make impressive gifts. The Woodturners Catalog, part of Craft Supplies USA, has everything you need to get started with woodworking. Please note that younger children should not be allowed to use woodworking tools without close supervision.
General Craft Supplies -- Michael's is one of the biggest craft supply retailers around, and if there's not a store near you, you can order from their online catalog. Even if you don't plan to purchase your supplies from them, a trip to Michael's can provide endless inspiration for what to do with all those odds and ends in your craft supply drawer.
Online Fabric Store -- Here you can order all kinds of fabrics and materials for crafting and gift-making. Kids love to pick the fabric for their projects, and there's no shortage of fun choices here. Plus, orders over $50 are shipped for free.
More Awesome Resources for Crafting With Kids
If you're not yet thoroughly inspired, keep going. The following sites and pages are tailored around specific themes - like holiday decor or scrapbooking, and are top-notch in terms of quality and trustworthiness. Whether you're crazy about crafting or severely DIY-impaired, you'll probably find a recipe, game, or gift you can make with your kids here.
Nature Inspired Crafting -- Try some of these adorable crafts and homemade gifts kids can make from items found right in their own backyard like pine cones and leaves.
Homemade Toys and Games -- This collection of craft ideas comes from domestic guru Martha Stewart. There are paper bag animal puppets, rubber band guitars, and lots more fun and useful crafting ideas here.
Christmas Crafts for Kids -- This slideshow shows several super cute and easy to make holiday decorations and gifts. Kids can make fabric ornaments to hang on the tree or jingle bell hair clips for a favorite aunt or grandmother.
Scrapbooking 101 -- Scrapbooking is a fantastic way to preserve precious memories in a highly personalized and creative manner. Older kids and teens usually enjoy making scrapbooks, which can be designed as unforgettable gifts for friends and family members. This site will show you what supplies you need to begin scrapbooking and how to create a beautiful memory book that will last through the years.
Allcrafts Pattern Pages -- This site is full of patterns and instructions for making all kinds of cool and crafty gifts like hats, handbags, and more. You can use any of the available patterns at no charge.