I've been asked many times from many people how I come up with my ideas for crafts. That's a slightly difficult question to answer because it's a process. I use many methods to come up with crafts. Because I have been doing this for so long and I have repeat kids every year, I try not to do the same crafts over and over again. That means after about my second or third year I had exhausted every single craft book we had on file. I had to start using the internet and my own devices to come up with projects.
A lot of times I come up with a concept that I want to use for my bulletin board and try to find projects that complete that idea. But that only works for so many days, I still have a lot of time to fill with projects. I always try to do at least 3 projects a week; that way I have one floating day to prep or just relax a bit. Plus there's other parts of our room to decorate (like the ceiling!) ;) (at our site Fridays are toy days, so we don't break up into groups like we usually do which means we have no time for projects) What usually happens after I've mapped out my plan of attack on my bulletin board I move on to the projects that I want to do for fun.
For either type of project, I come up with the idea. Sometimes I flush it out myself and come up with my templates to trace the project out. Sometimes I draw a blank and have to turn to other websites and blogs for projects. A lot of times I'll think "I want to make _______." We'll use a penguin for an example. I'll Google search "penguin crafts" or "penguin kid projects" and see what I can find. From there I'll either use what I find and make templates to trace out the project pieces or I'll combine 2 or 3 different images into one cohesive project. More often than not I don't like what I see and combine multiple things into one idea. Many times I'm just looking for inspiration and ways to flush out my own ideas, other times I'm lazy and want someone to do my thinking for me. ;)
With pintrest, things have become much easier. I can just search what I want and lots of things come up. I usually start there and then go to Google if I don't see something I like.
Here's some websites that I've used in the past, both for projects and time fillers like word searches or mazes. I don't really use them much anymore but they're a good starting point and wonderful resource to have on hand.
The first and one of my very favorites is Kaboose, they have lots of fun and unique projects. They also have cooking projects if you're brave enough to try cooking with your kids. This is probably one of my favorite sites. The second is FamilyFun. They also have wonderful projects as well as group games and easy recipes. The third site I've used is DLTK Kids. This site is generally for the younger crowd. There's a lot of paper projects as well as mazes, word scrambles, and word searches (that could work for the older kids). The last is Coloring. It's a site chalk full of FREE coloring pages. Seasons, holidays, animals, and all sorts of people. The selection is endless for your kiddos.
So that's how I do it. No rhyme or reason to it. Just good ole creativity and the ever faithful Google. I keep a sample of all my projects in a file box. I want to remember what I've done and it's always a good starting to point to see what I've done and how I can improve. I highly recommend doing this...plus it's always fun to look back. I'll show you how I do it later. :)
Happy crafting friends!
PS if you need more inspiration you can check out my "All Things Child Care" board or my "Bizarre Holidays Lesson Plan" board.