We recently found ourselves in search of a craft that could entertain a crowd of wee folk between ages 18 months and 8 years. Glue, paint, and markers all promised more mess than I wanted to clean up in a borrowed space.
In the GIANT Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Children 2 to 5 (borrowed from the library), we found a great Stained Glass craft that involves neither glass nor stain. It seemed flexible enough to entertain a crowd of various ages.
With 2 pieces of clear Con-tact paper (available at craft and discount stores in a variety of lengths), a construction paper frame, and small squares of colored tissue paper or cellophane, you can entertain kids (and adults) for a while.
Before introducing toddlers to the scene, pre-cut your frame, 2 slightly larger pieces of Con-tact paper, and tissue paper squares.
Bring on the kids.
Help the kids remove the backing from one sheet of Con-tact paper (even early toddlers can enjoy separating the Con-tact paper and its backing if someone starts a corner for them).
Place the Con-tact paper on the table sticky side up.
If you want to write something on the frame now is the time. Names are a good addition if lots of kids are doing the same craft. Center and place the frame face down on the Con-tact paper.
Now the kids can place colored shapes all over the sticky paper. Overlapping pieces and pieces going over the frame are no problem. Older kids might want to make mosaic-style images or patterns.
When the young artist feels their work is completed, help them remove the backing from the second piece of Con-tact paper. Place the Con-tact paper face down on the completed mosaic. Don't worry about lining up the edges exactly- you can trim away the surplus for a neat edge.
If you want, you can use a hole-punch and yarn to make a hanger, but we just taped our finished project to the window.
Clean up is easy (throw out Con-tact backings and sweeping up tissue squares), and even very young children have the satisfaction of completing a craft.