How to Introduce Rubber Stamping to Children

Mother and Daughter Crafting

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Rubber stamping is the perfect craft for youngsters. Children of all ages will enjoy rubber stamping. From very little kids who enjoy just playing with rubber stamps, enjoying the process of making images on a page, through to older children who can start to really develop their crafting skills with rubber stamps and rubber stamping techniques.

Fortunately, rubber stamping is a craft which is both easily accessible (even complete beginners can get started rubber stamping with the minimum of supplies or expertise) and has a low cost of entry. Parents can grab a few rubber stamps, some kid-friendly ink and get started crafting!

If you are a parent or a guardian of young children and are wondering how to introduce them to crafts, rubber stamping could be just the thing! And who knows, it could develop into a hobby or craft which will stay with them throughout their life.

Best Rubber Stamps for Young Children

For parents looking to try rubber stamping with very young children, the best types of stamps to use are stamps which are small enough for them to hold, but not too small that they are fiddly. Look for stamps which have quite a deep wooden block as this makes it easier for small hands to grab onto. 

It's important to supervise very young children with rubber stamps. Particularly small rubber stamps as they could be a choking hazard. Many rubber-stamping manufacturers who make stamps for kids recommend a starting age of four years old.

The best rubber stamps for children are also stamps which have a relatively simple design. This is because the stamps are very likely to have a smudge or two when they are stamped onto paper. A smudge on a simple image doesn't hide the design too much, however, a smudge on a very detailed image can render the design unrecognizable.

Foam stamps are also perfect for young children. They are light to hold and are often very low cost. Look for foam stamps which are small. Often foam stamps are used for larger projects, for example, decorating walls and other very large surfaces. As such, the size of this type of stamp would likely be too large for very small hands to hold.

Best Rubber Stamps for Older Children

As children start to get older, they can start to use a wider range of rubber stamps. They will be able to create pictures and stories using rubber stamps and this is perfect for imaginative play projects. Older children will be able to use adults rubber stamps without any problems, however, if you have any precious rubber stamps which you love using in your own projects, you might want to supervise their use. It just takes a nick in the surface to render the stamp useless.

Older children will enjoy stamping with other materials as well as proper stamps. They can make stamps from a potato, for example, which will allow them to create their own unique designs from start to finish. They could also make stamps from craft foam.

As well as stamping on to paper and cardstock, older children may well enjoy stamping onto fabrics and other surfaces. There are many different types of rubber stamping ink available, including fabric ink and ink for non-porous surfaces, so this opens up all sorts of creative opportunities.

Rubber Stamping Inks for Young Children

Besides stamps and something to stamp on, the only other thing you need to get started rubber stamping with kids is some rubber stamping ink. You can purchase rubber stamping ink from your local craft store or online. You will also find there are some self-inking stamps available, which have been designed for young children. 

The best rubber stamping ink for very young children is ink which is washable. This is important for getting any stray ink off of hands, work surfaces—in fact anywhere ink shouldn't be! Many rubber stamping and craft equipment manufacturers sell child-friendly rubber stamping ink products.

Kids could also use your old rubber stamping ink pads. Younger children are often too excited by their new craft to keep remembering to wipe their stamps clean between color change. Therefore it doesn't take a lot for your lovely colorful ink pads to end up a similar muddy color. 

In addition to rubber stamping ink pads, you could also look at paint as a stamping medium. This works best with solid image stamps and will be perfect for potato stamping. Paint, being thicker than rubber-stamping ink, will block up the detail in very fine images, hence the reason why solid images are better for stamping with ink (a solid rubber stamp is one where the image is completely solid, not an outline).

You could also look for face paint and use that as an easy way to do face painting. While you can purchase special face painting stamps, it could also be fun to try some of your existing stamps.

Best Rubber Stamping Projects for Kids

There are so many different types of rubber stamping projects to do with kids. Rubber stamps can be used as an educational aid for very young children. Encourage them to count as they stamp images onto a page. Stamping is also great as a way to develop motor skills. Ask young children to stamp images in a line, for example, to develop their dexterity.

In addition to educational projects, kids will enjoy just having fun. They can create their own birthday cards, invitations, and other handmade projects. If you are a very keen card maker, younger children will love to think they are following in your footsteps by creating their own cards. You could allow them to help you to introduce them to card making. Alternatively, you could help them create their own, perhaps making a card blank and allowing them to decorate it.

Older children can start to develop their creativity and create accessories for themselves and to give as gifts. Creating popsicle stick bangles, for example, and decorating these with rubber stamps, is a fun way for youngsters to make something decorative with their craft. This is also a good project for them to do as a group.

Materials such as polymer clay and air dry clay offer a whole new range of creative possibilities for teens. They can start to create their own jewelry and accessories. Salt dough is also great for creating three-dimensional objects such as decorations and ornaments. Another material which teens will love is shrink plastic. Shrink plastic is a form of plastic which shrinks after it is heated. Stamp a pattern onto the shrink plastic before heating it and color it, and when it is finished and shrunk to it's finished size (about a quarter to a third of the size of the original image), you're left with a vibrant and shiny element which can be used to make jewelry, accessories and other items.

Developing It Further

As children start to get older, they will expand on the experience they have gained from rubber stamping and start to develop in different areas. For example, a youngster who has enjoyed coloring rubber stamps may well develop an interest in painting and start to explore and develop painting techniques. Likewise, a child who is using rubber stamps to make elements for jewelry may well develop into jewelry making. And of course, the child who enjoys creating their own stamps from potatoes is very likely to enjoy creating stamps from other materials and may want to explore printmaking and stamp carving.

One of the great things about rubber stamping is it's such a flexible and adaptable hobby. Children can start rubber stamping and develop in so many ways. It's an ideal introduction to crafts in general and over time, a youngster may find that their love of rubber stamping develops into a different craft or hobby which stays with them a lifetime.

So, why not give rubber-stamping a try with your young ones? You may be happily surprised at how much they enjoy learning this new craft.