Fast & Easy Crafts for Kids, Ages 3 to 5

Finger painting is one fast and easy, though messy, craft for young kids.
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Crafts are a great way to keep kids occupied while also inspiring learning and creativity. But sometimes parents simply need to pull together a quick activity to keep the kids busy while they get something done. Fast and easy crafts may keep kids ages 3 to 5 occupied just long enough for busy parents to complete a task.

Paper Plate Crafts

Having a stack of cheap white paper plates on hand can be a life saver when looking for a quick craft idea. Kids as young as 3 years old can draw faces on the paper plates. Then parents can help cut out eye holes to turn the plate into a mask. Kids can create animal masks, people masks or even alien masks. Tambourines are another easy paper plate craft. Have the kid decorate the bottom side of two paper plates. Then place a handful of dried beans or pasta in one plate and staple it to the other plate around the edges, keeping the staples close together so the beans don’t all fall out. Parents can also cut the center out of a paper plate and let the kids decorate the edges to make a round picture frame.

Finger Painting

This one may get a bit messy, but kids love the tactile nature and the feeling of sticking their hands into something goopy and spreading it around on a piece of paper. A cheap shower curtain makes an ideal craft mat to place over the table or on the floor to catch spills. Finger paints can be purchased at many stores, or you can experiment with other mediums. Shaving cream makes a fun paint substitute, as long as the child knows to keep it out of his mouth. Kids can smear shaving cream around on the paper and add color with food dyes. It dries to a somewhat hardened substance. Pudding or whipped cream work well, too, though they don't dry as well.


Kids can create collages from just about anything. All you need is glue, a piece of paper, and some imagination. Use scraps of colored paper, ripped up magazines or junk mail to create colorful designs and shapes. Create dimension by adding items such as paper clips, buttons or orange peels. Your recycling bin can be a valuable resource for this easy craft idea. Stick on a toilet paper tube or rip up a cereal box. Old photographs can make the collage more personal. Kids can come up with a theme -- such as all yellow items or pictures of food -- or they can just be crazy and glue down whatever tickles their fancy.

Greeting Cards

If there's a holiday approaching, have your child create a holiday card for someone. Provide colored construction paper and crayons, or grab some paper from your printer, in a pinch. Add holiday stickers if you have some on hand. If you’re feeling daring, get out some water colors. This simple craft can be done by most kids between the ages of 3 and 5 without much adult interference, and having a specific goal of creating a card gives the child a sense of purpose in his art.