When my girls were at an age where we could finally do some craft, I was so excited. Pinterest was a wealth of amazing craft ideas that I wanted to try with my kids. I envisioned smiling, happy children while I organized and set up the area for them to create and use their imaginations. I was going to have all the craft organized in zip lock bags so that each item would have a place to go. I was going to make amazing crafting memories with my girls.
And then that dream came crashing down when I would do said craft with my girls.
Glitter would be shaken like fairy dust on the floor.
The glue sticks would be unwound all the way so they were no longer usable and unwindable.
The organized collection of feathers, stickers, cupcake wrappers, straws, paddlepop sticks and whatever else I had decided to craft with would be emptied out of each bag onto the table or floor.
We would do said craft, and it would be over within TEN MINUTES and my girls would complain they were bored and wanted to do something else.
UM WHAT THE?
Didn’t they understand the money it cost and the time it took to organise the craft activity? No wonder mums shake their heads and refuse to do craft with their kids. The house is already messy without adding to it with glue and glitter!
Since having children, I respect my children’s Kindy and school teachers a whole lot more. Imagine having 30 or so kids to entertain all day after telling you your craft activity is boring after so many minutes? I’d be so deflated!
Despite the challenges, I will always continue to do craft with my girls because I do enjoy creating with them and it’s great for development too. I’m listing five ways I have learned to manage best craft with my children.
1. Adjust your expectations (allow craft to be kid-led)
These days when I craft with my younger girls, I don’t have a lot of expectations. The craft has to be super easy and often they will divert from the organised craft to create objects of their own. Kids like to explore and discover so I don’t mind when their little brains decide to go somewhere different to what I’ve had planned.
2. Keep it simple (and age appropriate)
Further from above, it’s important to make sure the crafts are super simple and achievable for kids. Some of the ideas out there on Pinterest are great, but they are designed with more of a adult led focus, rather than a kid-led one. My favourite crafts are the ones where the girls have to collect items from outside to create the said craft project. Leaves and sticks make great craft materials.
3. Pick the right time
There’s no point pulling out a craft project if you’re short on time, or if you’re not up to the mess. Craft is one of those things best done on those lazy days where you are at home for long periods or when it’s raining outside. Don’t feel guilt tripped into doing craft because you feel you have to.
4. Tips on managing mess
The biggest hurdle I’ve had to get over when crafting with my girls is the mess. No matter how organized you are, craft will still create a big mess on the floor and tables. Below is just a snapshot of what my kitchen bench looks like after we’ve done craft together.
Below are some tips to keeping mess to a minimum:
- I generally only put out the bits and pieces we need, not all the craft items at one time
- I keep all the craft bags in one big container and put it up high on a bookshelf so little hands can’t get into it.
- I try and choose craft activities where the items are easily collected from home. Think paper plates, leaves, sticks, paper, cardboard.
- I always replenish glue sticks, craft glue, sticky tape, stickers, paper plates, coloured paper and and paddle pop sticks so we have a stash ready for the right moments to do craft.
- I also recycle packages and keep them in a large open container so the kids can make bigger craft items.
5. Storing craft
I store my craft in a big tub and store it up high. Kelly has a few posts with ideas too and you can read them below:
It may take a bit to organise when you craft with your kids, but the memories are worth it. Coming up to Christmas, now is the perfect time to work out craft projects that can be made ahead of time to decorate the house in time for Christmas.