Return to the home page

Activities and Crafts

10 Steps to Successful Homeschooling What's Free or Cheap in NYC? Ask Laurie / RAQ Travels with Laurie Newsletter
Laurie Block Spigel
Classes & Lectures
Photo Gallery           
Poems by Laurie
Contact Laurie
FAQ (testing etc.)
Articles & Reviews       
Books & Resources
Favorite Kids' Books
Language Arts
Math & Economics
Critical Thinking
Social Studies
Foreign Languages
Art & Architecture
Standards, etc.     
Activities & Crafts
Physical Activities
Early Childhood
Special Ed
Gifted & Talented
About College/Teens
NYC High Schools
Art by Kids
Poems by Kids
Reviews by Kids
Other Sites           
Blogs, etc.           
Volunteer / Interns
Go to Page Index

These activities and crafts are a pathway to a number of skills. Many are free or inexpensive.

For games and outdoor hobbies such as walking or canoeing, see What's Free or Cheap in NYC: Phys. Ed. and Summer Phys. Ed., and Physical Activities. And see also some Crafts perfect for the winter season

Many of the activities listed here come under the heading of "practical arts" or "life skills." According to the board of ed. this includes: industrial arts, home economics, business, and agriculture. So you could teach your child to mend clothing, cook a dinner, plant a garden, and so on.

If you have a suggestion for an addition to this page, please send an email.

Page Index

Back to top

General Crafts Links

Back to page index

Amateur "ham" Radio

Many a notable scientist got his or her first start from an interest in ham radio. Talk to people around the world, help with communication in crisis situations, gain an understanding of how electronic equipment works.

Back to page index

Art new

Back to page index


Astronomy is the study of the stars. It's a fascinating hobby, and you (may!) get to stay up late. See our list of resources at Science: Space Sciences. Edmund Scientific has some great Astronomy Products.

Back to page index


Bird-watching can be fun for all the family. See What's Free or Cheap in NYC: Science and Math (including Economics) for some expedition suggestions.

Back to page index

Make a Birthday Calendar

You'll never forget a birthday or other anniversary again if you make your own Birthday Calendar. It's just like a regular calendar, but with no days of the week, so it will last for year after year. Personalize it with pictures of the birthday person or pet. And remember to look at it each month!

Back to page index


When my kids were very little, I made big cardboard books about them. These were simple books, with one sentence per page, and an illustration on the following page. I bound them together by punching three holes in the sides and using binder rings (very inexpensive). The books were approximately one-foot square, maybe eight or ten pages long. They had titles like Johnny Goes to the Zoo, with photos or postcards from our zoo trip for illustrations. These books became our early reading primers.
– from Education Uncensored, by Laurie Block Spigel

Making a book of your very own is a great activity. You can make any kind of book, from your own dictionary or encyclopedia to a book of poems or stories to a book on your favorite subject, creature, or whatever. You can keep a record of your vacations. And who knows? One day you may write a book for general publication!

Back to page index


Practicing calligraphy (it means "Beautiful Writing") can improve anyone's handwriting skills. See also Handwriting on our Language Arts page.

Back to page index


Back to page index

Coin Collecting (numismatics)

Like stamps, coins tell us a lot about other countries and our own. Collect a full set of coins from the year you were born, or the complete set of quarters for every state. Ask friends who travel abroad to give you the loose change they brought back.

Back to page index


Everyone should have some idea of how to cook, and it's never too early to start.

Interested in knowing how and what people in other countries eat? Check out The Global Gastronomer from Yale University.

Back to page index


Nothing gives quite so much satisfaction as growing something, either to eat or for its beauty. And even in an apartment, you can grow bean sprouts.

Back to page index

Jewelry Making (including Beading) Updated


Back to page index

Keep a Journal

Back to page index

Knitting, Embroidery, Crochet, etc.

And not just for girls! Traditionally, all the British fishermen's sweaters were knitted by the men, during the winter when they couldn't fish. All these crafts aid hand/eye coordination, design skills, and math (counting stiches).

Back to page index


See also:


See What's Free or Cheap in NYC: Music for some opportunities for joining a chorus.

Write your own Songs

Writing your own songs can be a lot of fun, and it's quite easy.

Back to page index

Play an Instrument

Build an Instrument

It's amazing what you can find to turn into a musical instrument. Rhythm instruments are easiest – a jar or can with a few beans becomes a shaker (you can decorate with paint, decals, etc.) and any can makes a simple drum.

Listen to Music

See What's Free or Cheap in NYC: Music for some free or inexpensive concerts and performances. Remember Etiquette for Live Performances.

You can listen to music with a stereo, or on an i-pod or Walkman, or on the radio or TV.

Back to page index


Origami teaches manual dexterity and offers insights into geometry.

Back to page index


See What's Free or Cheap in NYC: Art & Architecture for places to see art; Art & Architecture Resources; and Art by Kids on this website.

Back to page index

Penpals and E-Pals

See our page on Penpals and E-Pals.

Back to page index


Pets are not a hobby. Pets are a commitment. See the ASPCA's Animaland, the website for kids who love animals.

Back to page index

Photography and Video

"A picture is worth a thousand words," and photographs can illustrate reports as well as bring back cherished memories.

Back to page index

Pressed Flowers

All you need is a couple of sheets of absorbent paper, a heavy weight, and a flower! Starting a pressed flower collection, making greeting cards, pictures, or bookmarks, kids can find out about botany and produce lovely things.

Back to page index

Quilting Updated

Quilting is the art of sewing two pieces of cloth together with a layer of padding between. Scrap pieces of fabric can be joined together in patterns or abstracts.

Making Memory Quilts

Back to page index


A scrapbook is literally a book of scraps -- photos, bits clipped from magazines, pictures, drawings, poems -- in fact anything you like. You can make a scrapbook about your vacation, your pet, your family (see Genealogy Resources), or a scrapbook on a particular subject such as history. There are lots of ready-made scrapbook kits available, but it's more fun to create your own, maybe in a loose-leaf binder so you can continue to add pages. Tip: Stick with pages that are 8-1/2" by 11" -- anything else becomes too large to store easily!

Back to page index


Knowing even a little about sewing can save you heaps of money! Replace your own buttons, darn a hole in your favorite sweater, turn up a hem on a garment that's too long. And make your own clothes or Halloween costumes.

Back to page index

Stamp Collecting (philately)

There are stamps that illustrate every conceivable subject from art to zoology.

Back to page index


See Photography.

Back to page index / Back to top