Entertaining Crafts to Do for Toddlers

Ok, I did these little crafts the other day, and since they are made by Mommy, I didn’t think they should go in the craft section.  But they’ve been keeping the boys well entertained.


Dyed Flowers

(Ok, I did these to have flowers for decoration, and I thought I could use Evan’s “help” on it.  It was really neat for us to keep checking on it.  A note: blue and red did the best.  Purple looked black.)


Things you need:


  • White Carnations (or mums or daises.  But carnations did the best)
  • Bud vases (or glasses)
  • Water
  • Food dye
  • Scissors


Cut the carnations at the beginning of a section.  (All flowers need to be cut at an angle at least an inch up.)  Get as many vases as you want colors.  Fill the vases with water and drops of food coloring.  (The more drops, the brighter the color.)  Place a couple of flowers in each vase.  In a couple of days, the flowers will start turning colors.



Pipe Cleaner Animals

(This would be a great craft for older kids, but I have little guys who can’t twist metal very well yet.  These were VERY easy to make, and I know there are harder ones, but I was messing around to see if Evan was ready to do it yet.  No, not yet.  But he loves playing with them.)


Things you need:


  • Four  pipe cleaners
  • Googly eyes (optional)


Take the pipe cleaners and knot them together in the middle.  Loop around the knot with the pipe cleaners until you are satisfied by the thickness of the body.  Leaving the pipe cleaners unbent makes an octopus.  Bending each pipe cleaner section to make a knee and then a foot, makes a spider.  Glue the googly eyes on the body.



Easy Rattle

(I think I saw someone do this on a blog, and I remember seeing it on a craft sight.  But which ones?  Sean had a blast with it.  I was surprised that Evan didn’t just open it up and grab the coins.  If you don’t like noise, DO NOT do this.)


Things you need:


  • Clean soda or water bottle
  • A couple of coins


Clean the bottle.  Throw a few coins in the bottle.  Seal it, and let the kid play.





Halloween Countdown Calendar

So Evan is dying for Halloween.  It doesn’t help that everywhere we go there’s a Halloween store.  He just can’t wait to be a witch, or a ghost, or a bat, or whatever it is that comes to him mind that day.  So I was reading dooce.com (a great blog, which I highly recommend if you haven’t seen it), and Heather posted about a Halloween countdown calender someone had toddler her about.  Well, no time like the present.  I will post this in crafts, but I figured parents out there might want to see this.  This will be a great activity for elementary school kids, but for toddlers, you will have to do most the work yourself.  I made the boys paper bracelets to keep them entertained. 

Materials you need:

  • several pieces of construction paper (black and orange look nice)
  • staples
  • scissors
  • Halloween picture (like a coloring Halloween sheet that you can have the kids color as you cut)

So allow the child color the Halloween picture and even the construction paper if you are inclined.  Fold the construction paper in thirds and then in half.  Using the folds as guides, cut the paper into strips.  Use the strips to make a chain, stapling the ends of each circle together.  Make as many links as there are days intil Halloween.  Staple the chain to the Halloween picture.  Now from the day you made the chain until Halloween, let the child tear off a link as a visual reminder to how far Halloween is away.

And yes, like Heather’s daughter, my son wanted to tear off all the links at once to have Halloween come sooner.  But every time, Evan asks for Halloween to be tomorrow, I point to the calender and tell him that when the links are gone, then it’ll be Halloween.

Halloween Party

I LOVE Halloween! Every since I had my own place to throw a party, I threw a huge Halloween party every year.  I even throw a Halloween part in the middle of March.  My friends start bugging me about a party just around this time, and I get all excited with all the different magazines and stuff I have to plan a great bash.  But last year we ran into some horrible drama, which I would rather not discuss, and I realized with two toddlers, whose bedtime means my sanity; it doesn’t quite fit with throwing a Halloween party, that ALWAYS runs late.  But I DO love Halloween, and I assume some of you might be throwing your own bashes, so I thought I would offer up some of my best ideas.

First off.  I love Evite.com.  They have the best invitations, and it forces people to RSVP.  (Yeah, you know who you are that didn’t RSVP to any of the birthday parties.)  It also keeps a running count on those RSVPs.  Of course, I have also hand delivered invites.  They were written on brown paper sacks that I had spilled coffee on, burnt the edges, and wrote in red, sealing with wax.  It looked awesome. 

Next the food.

I apologize for stealing any recipes.  My computer died last year, erasing all the sites with recipes.  Besides I modified most of them for my guests’ tastes.

My favorite: Witch Hats

Get the Snackwell’s Devil Food cakes (the original recipe called for the chocolate covered Oreo’s but they were too rich.  And I have a high tolerance for rich and sweet) and Hershey kisses.  Melt a few kisses to “glue” the kisses on the cakes, leaving some melted chocolate spreading out from under the kiss.  Sprinkle some colored sugar or nonpareils as decoration or frost a head band.  (These go fast!)

Twinkie Ghosts

Get Twinkies, white frosting and chocolate chips.  Frost the Twinkies and add the chocolate chips for eyes.  (Simple, rich, sweet, and everyone LOVES these.  Correction, the women love these!  The men eat the salsa.)

Dirt and Worms

Get Oreos and gummy worms.  Crush the Oreos and add the gummy worms.  (I love this.  The kids love this.)


Make a meringue (beat 2 egg whites with 1/8 t of cream of tartar until you have small peaks then gradually add 1/2 c of sugar as you beat into stiff peaks).  We added chocolate spinkles to give it a darker look.  Pipe a milk bone shape on a parchment covered baking sheet.  Bake for an 1-1/2 hours at 225 degrees.  Store in air tight container or they get a little soggy.  Be careful because if one side of the bone breaks they look a little “adult.”

Sea Serpent Sandwiches

Get the Pillsbury refrigerated French bread and sandwich toppings.  Make the French bread into an “S” shape, cut triangles with scissors for scales, and make a mixture of Italian seasonings and melted butter for an extra kick on the bread.  Pillsbury recommends cutting a mouth, but it’s pretty difficult.  And for a good “S” shape, we shaped the bread around two glasses (glass, not plastic) as it baked.  When the bread is cooled, Cut it and make the sandwiches.  Use pimento olives and toothpicks for the eyes.  We cut it into slices once people get there.  (These go amazingly fast.)

Bat Wings

Get chicken wings, food coloring, and bar-b-que sauce.  Dye the sauce black.  Marinate the wings, and grill them.  (Depending on the years and the guests, they go fast.  Sometimes they don’t.)

Halloween Salsa or Brochette

Substitute orange tomatoes for red.  Be cautioned orange tomatoes are juicier.


In the front yard, we have chalk body outlines (the cop, aka my dad, thinks it’s crazy because in thirty years on the force, he never had to do a chalk outline.  Thanks, Dad, but it’s STILL spooky.), cemetery with soil topper as fresh mounds, and real police line tape (Ok, I cheated.).  We also spray painted a couple tiki torches and have them line the walk way to the house.

Inside we have fog machines and a dozen black lights.  There are candles everywhere.  I cover the furniture with white sheets from a second hand store.  We literally take down everything that isn’t Halloween.  I am an artist with fake cobwebs; a little goes a long way.

In the bathroom, I use the cheap red paint from Wal-Mart to leave hand prints and “help” on the mirror.  I also let a few drops run down the sink.  This totally got a friend of mine, who thought I actually did cut myself.  Don’t worry about the paint; it’s easy to clean up the next day.

My favorite is the Halloween Tree, which we did for two years.  It’s just a branch I would find and drag home.  I decorate the tree with those plastic Halloween rings, black light Christmas lights (green, purple or blue lights work too), and fake barbwire.  Last year Martha Stewart had a Halloween tree that she put treat baggies on for kids.  I thought that was cute, but I haven’t tried it.  As entertainment, I ask people to bring a gift for a gift exchange around the Halloween tree.

What we did try was cutting pumpkins to hold ice and beer bottles.  Instead of finding a bowl to fit in to it like Martha (I bet I could if I had assistants and a prop room), we lined the pumpkins with plastic wrap.  I also filled latex gloves with water to make finger ice.  I also filled one with ice and fruit snacks to float in the punch bowl.


If you have little goblins coming, you HAVE to have entertainment.  The first year people brought their kids, one of the kids went half way down the laundry shoot.  Great.  Now that I’m a mom I feel guilty giving away candy right before Halloween, so last year I gave away pirate coins that they could turn in for prizes at the end of the night.

The favorite: Halloween Egg Hunt

I’ve tried this several different ways.  You could spray orange reflective paint on hard boiled eggs, and draw jack-o-lantern faces.  Of course, no one will eat the eggs, so I found it a waste.  You can spray paint plastic Easter eggs.  A little bit of a pain because you have to coat them with the plastic paint and then the reflective paint.  But they look cool.  Use glitter Easter eggs.  Or we found plastic jack-o-lanterns and coffins (original use: to hold candy for class parties).  We hid them everywhere.  When it gets dark, we let the kids find them with flashlights.  So the coffins weren’t the best idea, and you have to remember where you hid all the “eggs” or make a map for yourself.  I told them first person to 6 (or whatever number) would get a special prize, that way all the kids have a chance of getting a few.  But the kids love it.  Just remember to tell and remind people to bring flashlights.  And have a few ready to go.

Drawing on your head

Have the kids draw a jack-o-lantern on a piece of paper on their head.  Last year we had the kids vote for who they thought did the best.


Have the kids lie down like they’re dead.  They can’t speak or move or they are out.  I used to use this game when I was a babysitter.  The kids LOVE this game.  It is a good game to mellow them out or to give you a break.

Donut eating race

You know hang the donut from a string.  Have several hanging from a pole, allowing some people to hold it.  Make the kids eat without their hands first, and then half way let them eat with their hands.

Candy corn in a jar

Guess the candy corn.  Don’t forget to count as you fill the jar, and put the number somewhere safe.


I painted Styrofoam balls black.  (No spray-paint because it’ll eat the Styrofoam.)  Give the kids eight pipe cleaners cut in half to stick in the body for legs.  Bend the pipe cleaners at the “knees”.  Glue goggley eyes and jewels to decorate.

Costume Contest

Have a vote

Matching Game (for the adults)

My husband loves this game.  We find like twenty or thirty pictures of villains: living, dead, fictional.  We have people write down who they think they are.  You can either give them a list of the names or make it challenging and force them to guess.

We used to show Attack of the Body Snatchers or Jaws on mute, but now they are kids, so we show a Nightmare Before Christmas.  My baby brother mixes me some really cool CDs.  ‘

So I hope that helps.  If you have any questions, let me know.  I’m sure I can give step-by-step instructions if asked.  And if this stuff works for you or you have other suggestions, please let me know.