20+ Art and Craft Recipes for the Busy Mama

Today I am sharing some of the Art and Craft Recipes we use in play.  All of these  craft recipes are super easy, quick and lots of fun!  They are so easy and quick in fact that I deemed them Busy Mama Recipes!  However, these aren't just for moms.  Many of these recipes are great for the busy classroom as well.  

20+ Art and Craft Recipes

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Many of you likely have the majority of the ingredients used here sitting in your kitchen pantry, making these craft recipes not only quick but frugal too!

Kool-Aid Paint
craft recipes - kool-Aid paint

Kool- Aid paint could not be easier to make and smells amazing!  To make this fantastic sensory paint, pour Kool-aid into a bowl or muffin tin and give your little one a cup of water and paint brush.   Have them dip the brush in the water, then in the Kool-Aid, and paint! This paint is vibrant, smells AMAZING, and Kool-aid is only 20 cents a packet, making this one inexpensive art material!

We first explored with Kool-aid paint back in April.  You can read all about our kool-aid sensory painting adventure here.

Kool-aid paint craft recipes
Note- once Rosie's scented art was dry, I hung it on the wall at her level so she could smell her creations.  Our whole home smelled amazing for days!

Kool-Aid Play Dough
Kool-aid play dough recipe

This Kool-Aid play dough smells amazing no matter what variety you use.  So far I think the watermelon is our favorite!

To make Busy Mama's Kool-aid Play-Doh you will need:
~Kool-aid (20 cents a pack at Walmart)
~Play-Doh (any color you want- 88 cents at Walmart)

Flatten the Play-Doh and pour 1/2 a packet of the Kool-Aid of your choice into the center.  Fold the Play-Doh in and around the Kool-Aid and knead the Kool-aid into the play dough.  It does not stain your hands, leaves no specks in the Play-Doh, and smells FANTASTIC!  Forget Rosie and Jewel- mommy can't put this stuff down.

Did you know that there are 91 different types of Kool-Aid?  Wow!  I didn't until I looked it up out of curiosity.  That means this one simple tip makes 91 different Play-Doh recipes!  For just over $1 a recipe, I think we will slowly try them all!

91 thirty second play dough recipes
A full list of Kool-Aid flavors can be found here!

Edible Paint

I began whipping this edible paint recipe up for Rosie when she was just a few months old.  We usually have yogurt in the house so I often use that.  However, you could also use instant pudding.  I like to make a variety of colors so I use a muffin tin.  I portion the yogurt or pudding into the tin and then add a few drops of food coloring to each muffin slot.  This paint is not only edible but healthy, making it a great first paint for babies! 

Pumpkin Scented Paint
craft recipes- pumpkin scented paint

This pumpkin scented paint also produces scented works of art.  To make this, simply sprinkle pumpkin pie spice into orange paint and stir.  

easy craft recipes- pumpkin paint
Pumpkin Scented Paint

If you do not already have pumpkin pie spice on hand it can be purchased at Walmart or the grocery store in the spice aisle.  There are a ton of ways to use it!  So far, we have used it to make pumpkin cloud dough, play dough, bath paint and pumpkin bubbles.

Pumpkin scented art- so fun!
Pumpkin Scented art

Pumpkin Scented Bath Paint
craft recipes- bath paint

This pumpkin scented bath paint had the whole upper level of my home smelling of Fall!  To make it, you will need:
~ shaving cream (purchased from The Dollar Tree)
~ orange food coloring (purchased from The Dollar Tree)
~ pumpkin pie spice (purchased at Walmart)

Mix shaving cream, a few drops of food coloring, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl.  I did not measure the spice amount.  A busy mama doesn't have time for all of that ;)  I just added spice until the paint smelled just like pumpkin pie!

homemade bath paint- pumpkin bath time paint


Pumpkin Play Dough Recipe
pumpkin play dough recipe- craft recipes

This was the first recipe I deemed a Busy Mama recipe.  It is AMAZING!  While homemade play dough is not all that hard to make, sometimes you just don't feel like measuring out all of the ingredients, mixing, and then adding a TON of food coloring just to try and get the desired color.  Sometimes, you just don't have the time!  But this pumpkin play dough recipe even the busiest mama can find time to whip up.

All you need is pumpkin pie spice and a container of orange Play-Doh.  We purchased ours at Walmart for 88 cents!  We already had the spice, making this fun sensory material under a dollar to make!  Just sprinkle some pumpkin spice on the Play-Doh and work it into the dough.  The more this play dough is played with, the better it smells!  It truly smells Amazing!

Rosie has been having so much fun with it too!  
Halloween party ideas pumpkin play dough recipe

We also used this pumpkin play dough to put together adorable Fall party favors!

Apple Play Dough Recipe
easy and quick Apple play dough recipe- craft recipes

This apple play dough recipe is made exactly like the pumpkin play dough only using apple pie spice and red Play-Doh.  We have not made this yet but we have made apple scented paint and it was divine.  We have an apple bath post coming up soon with a bath time alphabet apple tree- check back with us!

Apple Scented Bath Paint
apple scented bath paint recipe- craft recipes

This apple scented bath paint smells fantastic!  We made it the other day to go along with our apple bath (post coming soon) 

The apple bath paint is made very similar to how the pumpkin bath paint is made.  Use apple pie spice and red food coloring along with shaving cream.  No need to burn Autumn candles after using this paint- smells AMAZING!

Apple Scented Paint
Apple scented paint - homemade craft recipe

To make apple scented paint mix apple pie spice into red paint.  That's it!  That simple and so much fun! Have your little ones paint paper plate apples and hang them in the home.  Adds Fall fragrance for days!


Liquid Water Colors Recipe

There are so many fun ways to use liquid water colors!  We used to buy Colorations liquid water colors and loved them and how vibrant they were.  However, Rosie was going through them so fast that I started making my own.

To make liquid water colors you will need:
~Spray bottles (purchased from The Dollar Tree- you will need one for each color you wish to make)
~Food coloring (purchased from The Dollar Tree)

In a spray bottle mix water with food coloring.  I use about half of a container of food coloring so that our liquid water colors are vibrant.  However, you could definitely use less.  I get the food coloring in four packs for $1 so it is still very frugal even though I use so much of it.  I also only fill the spray bottle half way with water (we like vibrant colors)  

We use these liquid water colors in so many ways.  We have also added scent to our liquid water colors,  creating another simple mama recipe! 

Scented Liquid Watercolors Recipe

We have made a variety of scented liquid watercolors.  You could add spices like we did to make  pumpkin scented bubbles.    You could add  peppermint extract and make peppermint scented liquid water colors or vanilla extract for vanilla.  You could even use Kool-aid to make Kool-aid watercolors, and for those you don't even have to use food coloring.   

Use liquid watercolors for art, Science, and more!

Volcanic Paint Recipe

This Volcanic Paint is a fun twist on our liquid water color paint.  Rosie loves painting and volcanic eruptions so combining them was pure bliss.

To make volcanic paint you will need:
~ vinegar (purchased by the gallon at Walmart for under $3)
~food coloring (Purchased from The Dollar Tree)
~spray bottles (purchased from The Dollar Tree)
~ baking soda (purchased from Walmart for under $1)
~ a container (we use a large storage container for this activity but any container will work)

Mix vinegar and food coloring in a spray bottle.  Make as many colors as you would like, adding as little or as much food coloring as you want.  Then cover the bottom of any container you wish with baking soda.  This is going to be the canvas.  Give your little ones the volcanic paint and let them go nuts!

Our Volcanic Paint Station
volcanic paint recipe

Rosie's erupting art!
craft recipes- volcanic paint
This activity is so fun!  Truly a must do!

This volcanic Art Station was part of a group sensory play date back in April.  Check out the post here for LOTS of other fun ideas! 

Cookie Play Dough Recipe
play dough recipes- quick and easy

To make cookie Play Dough, you will need:
~ vanilla extract (purchased at Walmart)
~ brown Play Doh

Mix a few drops of vanilla extract into brown Play-Doh.  The Play-Doh instantly absorbs the liquid.  However, still allow for it to sit in the sealed Play Doh container so that the scent has time to absorb into the dough.  We made this last  year around Christmas time.  I gave Rosie a few Christmas cookie cutters and she had lots of fun making cookies.  The scented dough really added to her imaginative play too.


Peppermint Play Dough
peppermint play dough recipe- craft reipes

Make peppermint play dough just  like the cookie play dough only using peppermint extract and green Play-Doh. 

Peppermint Paint Recipe
peppermint paint recipe- craft recipes

We made this last Christmas and it was amazing!  We used the peppermint paint to paint candy canes.  Then we strung them to make a beautiful scented garland for our home ( this was pre- Growing A Jeweled Rose but we will definitely be doing this again- stay tuned for the post)

To make peppermint paint just mix a few drops of peppermint extract into green or red paint!  We added red glitter to ours just to give it a little extra.

Peppermint Bath Paint
homemade bat paint- peppermint
Made just like the other bath paints only using peppermint extract and green food coloring.

Gingerbread Scented Paint
gingerbread paint recipe

We added cinnamon to brown paint and it reminded me of gingerbread. So, that it what I deemed it- Gingerbread paint!  Of course, I didn't measure.  I just sprinkled cinnamon into the paint and stirred, adding more until I had the desired scent.  

We will definitely be making another batch of this to paint gingerbread men this Winter!

Note- you can also use cinnamon with just water to create a cinnamon paint.  We have done that several times too!

Gingerbread Play Dough Recipe
gingerbread play dough recipe

For this play dough all you need is cinnamon and brown Play-Doh.  Maybe throw in a couple gingerbread men cookie cutters?  We can't wait to do this again this Winter!

You could also make gingerbread scented bath paint and cookie scented bath paint and ...... you see where I am going with this.  There are endless possibilities!

We use all of the ingredients above in other play times too!  We used the peppermint extract to create a Christmas themed sensory bath and plan to use it to make peppermint cloud dough.  We have made apple cloud dough and pumpkin cloud dough.  We also have a whole collection of fun bath times, many with scent! I am sure you can come up with all sorts of fun ways to use these materials!


I will share more recipes as we discover them.  Check back with us!

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