Got something special planned for Mother’s Day? No one’s bringing home Mother’s Day crafts from school this year. We’re here to bail you out with three low-effort but visually impressive crafts any child can pull off. Shower the mamas, the aunties, the grandmas and the mother-figures in your life with some real kid-made love.

DIY tiny art

Make tiny art and turn them into bookmarks, keychains or guitar picks. The possibilities are endless. (JiaYing Grygiel)
Make tiny art and turn them into bookmarks, keychains or guitar picks. The possibilities are endless. (JiaYing Grygiel)

You’ve been supporting the restaurant industry and you’ve got the empty takeout clamshells in your recycling bin to prove it. Those pieces of plastic (marked with a number 6) are polystyrene, the exact same material sold in Shrinky Dinks packs.

What you need: empty takeout containers, permanent markers, scissors, parchment paper

1. Cut out flat pieces from your clean and dry plastic containers.

2. Use permanent markers to draw your design. If you’re tracing a picture you admire, tape down the plastic so it doesn’t shift around. Hint: Draw the outline on one side, then color on the other to avoid smudges.

3. Trim around your design, rounding out the corners so your finished object isn’t sharp. Use a hole punch if you’d like to string something through it later.

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4. Place your design on a piece of parchment paper, colored side up.

5. Ask a grown-up to put it in the oven at 300 degrees for 3 minutes. (Toaster ovens work, too.) Turn on the oven light — kids love watching the pieces curl up, then flatten. Take out and let the pieces cool.

6. The plastic pieces will shrink to about a third of its original size. Hot glue your finished shrink art on a paper clip and it’s a bookmark, or a safety pin on the back for a brooch. We punched a hole in one and made a necklace. String several together on a mobile to make a suncatcher. Use it as a keychain, a charm or a guitar pick. Your tiny-art possibilities are endless!

DIY ‘stained glass’

Here’s a project that’s easy enough for preschoolers to do themselves and it’s really pretty.

What you need: clear contact paper, scissors, tissue paper, black construction paper

1. Cut little squares of different colored tissue paper. We upcycled wadded-up tissue paper from old gift bags.

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2. Sprinkle the bits of colored tissue paper on a piece of clear contact paper laying sticky side up. We used black construction paper to frame a border and spell out a message. Contact paper is actually pretty forgiving — you can rearrange and adjust pieces even after they’re stuck on.

3. Layer another piece of contact paper over your design (two sticky sides facing each other) and hang it in a sunny window.

Scratch-art card

With scratch art, all the pretty bright colors will show through where you carve off the black paint. (JiaYing Grygiel)
With scratch art, all the pretty bright colors will show through where you carve off the black paint. (JiaYing Grygiel)

Even if you’ve made scratch art before, the moment a kid reveals the bright colors is always magic.

What you need: black tempera paint, heavy paper, crayons, a pointed stylus

1. Here’s where all those broken pieces of crayons come in handy. Use crayons to color hard over a piece of cardstock, completely covering the surface.

2. Paint a coat of black tempera over the crayoned paper and let it dry. (Tempera is very inexpensive, about $1.99 for a 16-ounce bottle.)

3. Use something sharp to carve out a message. Try using a chopstick, fork tines or capped pen for different brush effects. All the pretty bright colors will show through where you scratch off the paint.

4. For a special Mother’s Day variation, make scratch-art paper into a scratch-off coupon. Use a Sharpie to write, “15 minutes of peace and quiet” or “Someone else is cooking all day today.” Then color over it with a white crayon, and paint over it with tempera. These scratch tickets are (almost) better than winning the lottery!