Kids today are slowly getting the idea that if you want to have a good time at home, you better have a cellphone, a video game, or a tablet handy. While these items have their own intrinsic qualities, such as better hand-eye coordination, sharpened reflexes, and the exposure to new skills, they deprive the kids of real playtime and family time.

Bring back the magic of family projects that involve every member and foster strong bonds. Yes, it’s possible. Read on to find out how to get them excited about good old arts and crafts:

1. Mold Your Own Goodies
No matter how exciting the digital video games, kids will be fascinated by play dough. Use store-bought non-toxic dough, or make your own, using water, flour and salt. Make animals, pen stands, flower pots and more. Create your own colored sidewalk chalk with just Plaster of Paris, water and paint, or even cook up some Silly Putty with glue and liquid starch.

2. Jazz Up Everyday Items
Take a good look at the stuff lying around. See that tube of shaving cream? Mix a bit of that stuff with white glue and food color, and you have a paint that puffs up once applied to paper, creating a three dimensional effect. Skip the color, and you could create a snowy landscape or a big fluffy cottony cloud in a blue sky. Use empty milk cartons or egg trays to create little jewelry boxes with just a splash of paint and some glitter. Bare cardboard rolls from toilet paper or kitchen paper towels can be decorated with beads and stickers, and strung together to make a train for the teddy bear or glam little raft for the favorite doll. Old CDs can become stylish dreamcatchers with a few sequins, rhinestones and feathers. Give them ideas, but let the kids use their own imagination.

3. Repurpose Stylishly
Scour the attic for old sheets and pillow cases. Cut them up into large squares and create patterns with different swatches by stitching them together. For little ones who can’t be using sharp needles, allow them to tape together the squares they like, before you sew them together. Embroider the kids’ names on the finished ‘quilts’ so they can each have one.

4. Create A Pic Collage
Buy your kids disposable cameras and let them take pictures of each other, the pets, of you, their grandparents, friends and neighbors. Use the prints to create a collage or scrap book with the kids, encouraging them to caption them in crayon or markers, and embellish them with stickers, paper flowers, colored ribbon or pretty buttons. These make good keepsakes, and you will cherish them when the kids grow up.

5. Have Fun With Food
While you teach them to eat healthy, you can also have a little fun with edibles. Uncooked pasta like macaroni and penne can be painted and strung into a neck piece or a stringer. You could have the kids use miniature cookie cutters to cut cute shapes from slices of carrots, beets and red, yellow and green peppers, which they can then add to their sandwiches and salads. Different kinds of seeds and dried beans can be layered in a jar to make pretty patterns, instead of using colored sand. Use these jars around the house.

Use these simple ideas to kick start a family project; it will not only make the kids creative and confident, it will also nurture your relationship with them.

Read More:
Family Time: How To Strengthen Bonds
Play Together, Stay Together: Why Family Bonding Is Important

Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.