Are you looking for ways to save money on kids crafts?
I get it, most little kids just LOVE crafts! They love creating, experimenting, and just generally making a mess! It’s a beautiful thing. But, it can also be super expensive when you add up all the little bits and pieces and craft kits over the course of a year, especially if you have more than one kid!
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your kids craft budget, then keep reading for some tried and tested methods.
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Prioritise Loose parts play
Loose parts play is now a fairly big thing in early learning childcare provision across Scotland, and probably further afield.
If you are interested in seeing some of the research for this theory, check out this article on Loose Parts Play that explains more about it and links to research.
There is also a great resource from Play Scotland about Loose Parts play. It’s well worth a read and is really simple to understand. You’ll find loads of ideas there to get you started with loose parts play. They also have a handy list of resources to provide for your little one, many of which are completely free! Lots of these can be used for open-ended craft activities too.
With regards to kids crafts, the idea is that your child is learning while they create and experiment with different materials.
It doesn’t really matter whether the end product looks amazing or not. It’s about the process of creating, rather than the end product.
This, according to experts, is what is best for kids.
As a bonus, it also provides loads of ways for us, as parents, to save money whilst helping out kids learn and develop. Things like glue tables, junk modelling, and objects found in nature are all great, affordable things you can provide for your kid.
If your little one is under the age of 3, or still prone to putting objects in their mouth, just be wary of the size of objects you give them to create with. Bottle tops that are grape-sized, for example, are best avoided.
5 ways to save money on kids crafts: Loose parts
1. Encourage open-ended play and imagination
This means that instead of your child needing specific items which need to be purchased new, for example googly eyes or ribbon, they have an array of items and are encouraged to use their imaginations to make them into something.
If they are unsure what to do, you can model how to create with loose parts or try setting them a challenge. Give them a selection of items and challenge them to make something from just the items there. These are the kinds of things I remember doing at school and it was always so much fun.
There is the challenge element, but they are also using their imagination, creating and designing. These are all such good life skills for them to learn.
2. Check out your recycling box
Lots of items we regularly recycle, like kitchen roll tubes, cereal boxes, milk cartons, bottle tops, and plastic tubs, can be used for junk modelling and to make all sorts of things.
Old magazines or newspapers are great for cutting out pictures or words and sticking them onto paper or models. You can also use them to make mosaics rather than buying a kit with little pieces of paper pre-cut.
It makes the craft more personal and provides more opportunities for your kids to use their imagination and learn new skills, like cutting.
Giant boxes are always popular with young kids. There are just so many options for what they can become. Will they make them into a car, a plane, a train, a rocket, or something else entirely?
3. Natural resources
Natural resources are brilliant.
They are used a lot in the nurseries and by childcare providers where we live. I use them myself as a childminder.
They create opportunities for more open-ended, imaginative play, as well as having unlimited play options.
Natural resources are things like: off cuts of wood, pine cones, acorns, leaves, branches, pebbles, shells, and sea glass. Obviously, you will need to decide which resources are suitable for your kid, depending on their age and developmental stage. You wouldn’t give a small piece of sea-glass to a young toddler to play with if they like putting things in their mouth, for example.
Natural resources are great as they are completely free. The options for crafts with these materials is huge too. You can paint them, make prints, glue them together, decorate with them, make jewellery, and I’m sure your little one will come up with even more ideas.
4. Save old items
Another free way to collect kids craft materials is to think creatively and save things that you might otherwise throw away.
If a button breaks off your clothes, instead of binning it, pop it in a little button tub, ready for your kids next art project. Other items that are great to save include: ribbon, bows, old clothes that have pretty patterned material, old mirrors, photo frames and crockery.
If you need inspiration to get you started, Pinterest is a treasure trove of ideas for crafts and upcycling.
5. Buy in bulk!
It saves a lot of money to buy a big selection box of kid’s craft supplies, instead of individual craft kits. This Arts and Crafts Vault, from Amazon, is a great option. It’s full of loads of great loose parts that can be used imaginatively.
If your kid is having trouble knowing where to start, then there are some suggestion pictures included, showing ideas.
5 ways to save money on kids crafts: Craft kits
1. Buy second-hand
Second-hand doesn’t always mean used.
Whenever I am in the charity shops (thrift stores) I always spot at least one or two kids craft kits. They are almost always unopened and look as good as new!
The beauty is, they are being sold at less than half the retail price and the money is going to charity! Win-win. Craft kits will always be popular gifts. Whilst they are being given so frequently it makes sense that often kids will get duplicates, or just not want a particular craft kit, hence they drop it off at their local second-hand shop.
I’ve found it’s always worth keeping an eye out there when you’re raising a budding crafter!
The sales are a great place to pick up discounted kids craft kits.
There are the obvious times of year for sales, like the January sales, Summer sales, and Black Friday, but individual shops will also have sales at different times throughout the year.
If you have a favourite retailer, it’s worth keeping an eye on their website or social media. The quicker you can find out about a new sale, the better. There’s a site called, Love the Sales that helps you keep up-to-date with different sales happening at online retailers. It has a kid’s craft section on it, so it’s well worth checking out.
3. Swap with friends
If your kid gets a craft kit they don’t want, consider passing it along to someone who would like it.
The more we can create this culture of sharing, and passing things along to one another, the more it can benefit us all!
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you could even set up your own little craft swap shop with friends one afternoon at your house. Another idea is to hold a swap shop to raise money for your kids school or nursery. This can encompass toys, as well as craft kits and supplies. It would probably benefit many parents, especially with the rising cost of living.
4. Make your own craft kits
Craft kits have a fairly hefty price mark-up. You can save a fair bit by buying the materials in bulk and putting together a craft kit yourself.
There are loads of craft blogs out there, or you can check out Pinterest for ideas. You can buy little pots of paint, keyrings, fridge magnets, glitter and multipacks of stickers and little boxes, or photo frames to decorate.
It’s much cheaper than buying a ready-made kit. It’s far more personal and unique too.
5. Check out cheap online stores
There are lots of affordable online retailers that sell craft materials. You can either buy craft kits for kid’s, or the bits you need to make your own. Personally, I am a huge fan of Hobbycraft and The Works for cheap craft supplies for kids. If you’re looking for other options, particularly in the US, then this article, 9 Great websites to buy cheap craft materials online, is pretty helpful.
More ways to save money with kids
I hope this article has given you lots of ideas for ways to save money on kids crafts. There’s no need for them to miss out on crafts due to budget constraints when you follow these tips.
Have a lovely time creating and learning with your little one.