Fun Winter Crafts Without the Mess

Fun winter crafts without the mess may seem like an impossibility and keeping children occupied during winter breaks and snow days isn't for the faint of heart. If you put on the television, your children become zombies and then come back to life in the evening. However, if you give them the run of the house, you will spend the entire day cleaning up after them. Crafts are a great go-to when the weather turns sour, and does not always have to end up a mess to clean up. Here are a few ideas for crafts that your kids can do that leave no mess behind.


When I say the word coloring, you may quickly imagine grabbing a coloring book and crayons. However, coloring does not have to be that simple. One way to take up more time is to make artwork out of scribbling. 

  1. Start with a blank piece of paper and using a washable black marker, let your child draw scribbles all over it. Be sure to avoid any mess by having a large plastic table cloth or butcher paper laid under the coloring paper to catch them if they go off the edge of the paper. 
  2. Once your child has created outlines with the black marker, give them coloring pencils, crayons, or markers so they can color inside the lines creating their own work of art. 
  3. If you want to make things a little more artsy, you can use crayon to draw lines, and then use water color to paint over the design. This can be done on an old cookie sheet to help keep the mess to a minimum.


Marble Paint

Painting with anything but water color can be extremely messy. There is a great work around, however, and this is by placing the sheet of paper into a disposable casserole dish. 


  1. Place a piece of paper into a disposable casserole dish.
  2. Squirt a paint color onto the paper. 
  3. Add one or more various sized marbles into the dish.
  4. Have your child gently lift the sides of the pan to roll the marbles through the paint and around the paper. 
  5. Add additional colors and change the sizes of the marbles if desired.
  6. After the painting is done, use a sandwich bag to remove the marbles. Wash in sink or throw away. Leave the artwork in the dish until it is dry, so there will be no paint on anyone’s fingers.



Magnets can provide hours of fun and some learning at the same time. Magnet play and discovery can be as simple as taking refrigerator magnets and seeing what they stick to. However, here are a few other ideas for what your child can do with magnets.

  1. Add small metal objects to a bowl filled with beads or sand and allow your child to "find" the objects using his "metal detector" magnet.
  2. Place metal objects on one side of a glass or plastic tray and encourage your child to move the objects from below using the magnet.
  3. Cut up several pipe cleaners and see who can pick up the most at one time. Try different magnets to see which one is most powerful.
  4. Add metal objects to a vase filled with water to see if your child can "rescue" the items without getting wet by using the magnets to move the objects to the top of the vase.


Finger Painting

Does finger painting sound messy to you? It doesn't have to be! Here's a mess free way to paint master pieces over and over.

  1. Get one gallon sealable plastic storage bags. 
  2. Add a small amount of paint. Feel free to add more than one color.
  3. You may also add glitter or other small decorative pieces.
  4. Seal the bag tightly.
  5. Place the bag on an old cookie sheet (just in case).
  6. Encourage your child to use their fingers or other dull objects to draw shapes on the bag. the pressure will move the paint around creating fun designs.
  7. When your child is done painting, you can throw the entire bag away to make it completely mess free.

These are only just a few ideas there are to make crafts without having a mess afterwards. Depending on the age of your child, playing with pipe cleaners and Styrofoam balls may enough to provide hours of enjoyment. The best part about any of these crafts is they can be done at the table with few supplies, allowing you to have quick set up and quick clean up at the end of the day.