While 6-year-olds may not have all the fine motor skills needed to complete complex art projects, they do have a fierce need to do things themselves. Many will not be satisfied with just paper and markers. Having a few deceptively simple art projects ready to go will keep little hands busy and satisfied.
Rain sticks are double the fun for kids, because they can decorate them and then make music with them. You'll need a cardboard tube (play with different lengths and widths); packing tape; hobby wire, cut into approximately 11-inch lengths (if you cannot find hobby wire, try pipe cleaners); a ruler; dry rice, beans and lentils (different-sized objects create different noises); and nontoxic markers to decorate the tube. Add extras such as feathers, paint, stickers or ribbons. Cover one end of the tube with packing tape --- use a few layers to seal it well. Crumple up the wire and use a ruler to push it into the tube. Pour the rice, beans and lentils into the tube, and seal the second end. Decorate the tube and make some music.
Pet rocks became popular as a toy in the mid 1970s and remain an easy, inexpensive and creative art project for children. A child who cannot have a pet -- or one who has always wanted her own lion -- will appreciate the result of this activity. Collect rocks with your 6-year-old. Look for rocks with bumps that can be turned into heads and tails, but keep in mind that rough rocks will be harder to paint. Wash the rocks and dry them well, then use acrylic craft paint to turn the rocks into animals. Add googly eyes, pipe cleaner antenna, feathers or other embellishments.
Watercolour Crayon Resist
This art project uses supplies that are easy to find: construction paper, crayons and watercolours. Have your 6-year-old draw a picture on the construction paper, using crayons. Experiment with thick and thin lines, and try using a crayon that is the same colour as the paper. When the child finishes the drawing, have him paint over it with water colour. The crayon resists the paint, so lines that couldn't be seen before will show up.