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Do-It-Yourself

These art kits, construction sets and model makers provide children the tools to craft their own creations that can be used to display, for play or as homemade gifts for friends and family.
Hand Art Hand Art
Ages: 4 & Up
Klutz, $9.95

Updating the old turkey from kindergarten (tracing one's hands and coloring the fingers to look like turkey feathers), this trace-and-color book shows how to create an octopus, snail, horse, giraffe, dragon and a dozen more creatures by holding one’s hands in different positions. Crayons, googly eyes, and pom-poms are included.

Classic Wood Crafts Classic Wood Crafts
Ages: 5 & Up
Creativity for Kids, $29.99

Classic Wooden Crafts is an arts and crafts activity that comes with over four hundred pieces of wood in a variety of shapes and sizes. Additional materials include feathers, chenille stems, cotton and elastic string, and wooden people and beads. Glue, eco-friendly paints, paint brushes, a marker, and sand paper round out the necessary supplies for making these wooden crafts. One can use the instructions for ideas or just use one's imagination. There are enough materials to use the set multiple times, and when done, the materials can be housed in the bag that is included.

Gelarti™ Designer Studio Gelarti™ Designer Studio
Ages: 5 & Up
Moose Toys, $24.99

The Gelarti kit comes with 6 pages of black outlined sticker patterns (flowers, animals, trees - about 6 to a page) and four tubes of gel paint to color them. The paint colors are blue, green, red and orange and the kit also has a selection of plastic adornments (jewels, bugs) to add to the stickers. The stickers take 6 hours to dry, and then make lovely colored transparent stickers that can be re-stuck several times.

Make Your Own Monster Doll Make Your Own Monster Doll
Ages: 5 & Up
4M Industrial Development Limited, $13.99

Make your own Monster doll with this great kit that requires no pins or needles. Assorted felt and templates allow you to personalize your monster. Instructions and birth certificate included.

Stick'n Style Crystal Clutch Stick'n Style Crystal Clutch
Ages: 5 & Up
The Orb Factory Ltd., $15.00

The Crystal Clutch is a mosaic by numbers art project that allows children to decorate a purse with jewels. Using a legend, the child places each jewel is its designated place. The end result is a beautiful jeweled purple clutch purse than any young girl will love. The use of small jewels works on fine motor skills, while the legend enhances problem solving skills. I would highly recommend this to families who have a child who loves arts and crafts projects. This makes a great rainy day activity.

Also look for: Stick'n Style Cupcake Clutch

Wooden Spoon Fairy Puppet Theatre Wooden Spoon Fairy Puppet Theatre
Ages: 5 & Up
4M Industrial Development Limited, $20.00

The Wooden Spoon Fairy Puppet Theater is a fun arts and crafts project that results in an end product that can be used over and over again. Everything you need to make three wooden spoon fairies and make and decorate a puppet theater is included. The fairies are easy to make can be completed in a reasonable amount of time. Everything sticks on with double sided adhesive tape (included) so there is no mess. It also comes with a play script about being friends. While our testers enjoyed the play included, they also enjoyed making up their own plays. This activity kit is a fun way to encourage creativity in children of all ages.

Amate Cut Paper Kit Amate Cut Paper Kit
Ages: 6 & Up
Eye Can Art, $20.95

The delightful Amate Cut Paper Kit includes everything needed to make up to 9 cut paper designs. The instructions give an age appropriate explanation of the history of the craft, and it teaches children the terms symmetry and asymmetry, an understanding of which the kit promotes. Amate means paper in the Otomi tribes language, and the Otomi tribe believe that symmetrical designs bring people good luck. One child tester, excited to learn that, set out to gift others with lucky symmetrical paper crafts.

Build & Roll Robot Build & Roll Robot
Ages: 6 & Up
ALEX, $17.95

The Build & Roll Robot comes with the cardboard materials, plastic wheels, plastic bolts, markers, and stickers necessary to create and decorate your very own robot. The foot tall robot has a charming look once completed. Some parents had to help their kids put it together, making this a fun teamwork project. Once finished, kids enjoyed rolling the toy around, though parents noted that for some kids, the construction and decorating process was more fun than playing with the toy.

Crayola Jewelry Boutique Crayola Jewelry Boutique
Ages: 6 & Up
Crayola, LLC, $19.99

The Crayola Jewelry Boutique is a craft kit based on their popular Model Magic line of soft, quick-drying modeling clay. This particular set uses a hand-operated spinner to roll twisted pieces of clay into multi-colored beads. The beads can be mounted on the included jewelry elements (three pendants, five bracelet charms, and two sets of earrings) or pierced into stringable beads that can be dried on the bead rack. Several plastic gems are included, and they can be added before the beads harden. When beads are dry, they can be polished with the slick bead glaze and constructed into more elaborate jewelry - necklaces, bracelets, etc.

My Friendship Bracelet Maker Traveler My Friendship Bracelet Maker Traveler
Ages: 6 & Up
Choose Friendship Company, $16.99

The My Friendship Bracelet Maker Traveler features a clip to hold the strings, string holders at the bottom to prevent tangling during knotting and a pull out drawer to hold threads; it even comes with twenty brightly colored pre-cut threads so that it is ready-to-go right out of the box. Not only did the kit have me at "self-contained," but it focuses on values such as friendship and artistic creativity. Beyond these social values, working on the craft can help hone hand-eye coordination, patience, sequencing and fine-motor skills.

Sew Cute Sock Puppy Sew Cute Sock Puppy
Ages: 6 & Up
Faber-Castell USA, $14.99

Creat a cute stuffed dog (about 9" long) tools included in the kit: 2 patterned socks, stuffing, scissors, needle and string, a needle threader, pins, buttons for eyes, ribbon for the leash and a few additional adornments. The instruction booklet shows the child how to sew a whipstitch, which is the only stitch they need. As with many craft kits, there are only enough materials to do the project once. However, the materials are easily accessible and the process is clearly explained, meaning the project could be repeated with craft store materials.

All Duct Out All Duct Out
Ages: 7 & Up
ALEX, $27.95

All Duct Out is a fun and unique craft activity that uses duct tape to make all sorts of items including purses, bows, bracelets, necklaces, shoe strings, and more. The craft comes with eight rolls of multi-colored duct tape, stencils, directions, and materials to make a purse earrings, key chains, and a brooch. While the directions are specific and detailed, we found it helpful to get online and watch the video instructions, too. The video instructions also provide additional ideas for other crafts you can make with the duct tape.

DUARTE PaperArt DUARTE PaperArt
Ages: 7 & Up
DUARTE PaperArt, $4.95

These beautiful paper art kits may have parents purchasing extras, just so they can enjoy putting together an animal paper model with their children. The design and engineering of the animal models is beautiful, with a nice visual balance of simplicity with enough complexity to let children feel accomplished once they have completed the model. From bright white (polar bear) to subtle shades of gray(African elephant, rhinoceros, kangaroo) to black(orca whale, gorilla) the shapes snap easily out of the paper, with little chance to rip.

Pop Tab Jewelry Pop Tab Jewelry
Ages: 7 & Up
ALEX, $18.95

This kit is great for older kids to get their creative juices flowing. With all the necessary parts that you need to create jewelry that you'll love wearing and giving to your friends, Pop Tab Jewelry is stimulating, inspires creativity and originality, and is fun for playtime. Whether you are making gifts for others or crafting custom jewelry for yourself, you will thoroughly enjoy this kit. Tween girl testers were thrilled to get to play with this craft kit, and they spent hours creating new things for themselves and family. The design offers great colors, excellent packaging, and unique results.

My Friendship Bracelet Maker My Friendship Bracelet Maker
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Crorey Creations Inc., $24.99

The My Friendship Bracelet Maker is a self-contained, easily-stored or carried craft kit, which features: fifty-six threads pre-cut to 60" length in fourteen colors, an adjustable butterfly clip for securing string during the knotting process, string holders to prevent tangling, and instructions. The mechanism is easy to use and can create bracelets of various lengths and widths.

American Girl Crafts® Josefina Montoya® Memory Box Kit American Girl Crafts® Josefina Montoya® Memory Box Kit
Ages: 8 & Up
EKSuccess Brands, $21.99

The American Girl Crafts Josefina Montoya Memory Box Kit is a craft activity in which you can paint a wooden memory box. It comes with everything you need to complete the project including stencils, a wooden box with lid, paints and paint brushes. It also has a detailed idea booklet that gives lots of great ideas on different painting and stenciling techniques as well as journal questions that help you relate to Josefina. The booklet is easy to read, and has pictures next to the step-by-step directions. The box is a well-made, and it's perfect for holding special items.

Also look for: American Girl Crafts© Cecile Rey & Marie-Grace Gardner Paper Flower Wreath Kit and American Girl Crafts© Felicity Merriman© Embroidered Pillow Kit



Happily Ever Crafter Happily Ever Crafter
Ages: 8 & Up
ALEX, $39.99

Designed especially for young crafters interested in sewing, crocheting and needlework, this brightly colored, sturdy oval cardboard box contains nine project ideas and directions and ample supplies to complete them.

Sticker Design Studio Sticker Design Studio
Ages: 8 & Up
Klutz, $16.99

The Sticker Design Studio is an arts and crafts activity involving the decoration of stickers. It comes nicely packaged in a book with ten pages filled with white stickers ready to be colored. Some of the stickers are plain while others have glitter on them. Throughout the book, there are ideas given on how to decorate the stickers and how to use them.

The Complete Paper Making Kit The Complete Paper Making Kit
Ages: 8 & Up
Creativity for Kids, $30.00

The kit encourages papermaking as a craft and an art. It inspires and invites creativity at a number of levels. Children can enjoy learning about the process of papermaking, and they can engage in papermaking in a way that is not cumbersome. The resulting products could be used as gifts or cards. The variety of materials provided is comprehensive and the instructions are clear.


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