As a mother, crafter and blogger I always have my eye on Pinterest! I’m sure if you’re reading this blog, you likely do as well. That being said, although Pinterest is a great way to find inspiration, it can also be misleading. That’s not the fault of Pinterest or the Pinners for that matter, but with the sheer volume of information, it’s often hard to sift through what are actually great tips and projects and what are not. Often times things that look like they would be great crafting ideas for the kids, are actually not the best.
Well, guess what everyone! I’m here at your service! After 7 years of crafting with my own children (I now have four of them!) I’ve found ways to make crafting with kids work, to make it fun and to make it worth it. Today, I’m sharing my tips with you!
Real Life Tips for Crafting with Kids:
1. Craft stores can be overwhelming. Stick to basics!
These are the basic materials I love having on hand:
-School Glue and glue sticks
-Paper lunch bags
-Tissue paper of all colors
-Thin cardboard (save your cereal boxes)
-Hot glue and glue sticks (for the parents to apply)
-Shrinky Dink Paper (always a winner craft project in our house)
-Large pads of paper or Roll of Art Paper
-Larger Beads for Necklace Making
-Large Gemstones (my kids love these and I have even found them at the dollar store)
** These are the materials I would generally avoid:
-Expensive kits with tiny parts (they never last long and the pieces often end up all over the house)
-Glitter (it’s beautiful but unless it’s in “Glitter Glue” form it’s difficult to clean up and gets everywhere.
-Very tiny beads or gems
2. Adopt the Right Attitude
Kids are often way less concerned with the outcome of a craft project than we are. In fact, they enjoy the process so much and I happen to believe that enjoying the process is so much more important than the end result. Because of this, we shouldn’t focus on making the finished product something we expect, but rather shift our focus to enjoying the time spent crafting together.
3. Look for Play-Centered Craft Projects
Kids love crafts that they can actually do something with when they are finished. For this reason, things like telescopes, drums and rice-filled maracas are always a hit.
4. Plan Ahead
Our most memorable crafting disasters have been those that have also been the most spontaneous and those involving glitter. Tons and tons of glitter! While I’m a big proponent of letting the kids express themselves creatively, I also think that teaching them to wait and plan ahead is also an important skill. Planning for craft projects, and involving the kids in this process, is an important part of cultivating that creative talent, I believe.
5. Choose Projects that Will be Useful for YOU as well.
There is nothing wrong with this, my fellow parents! In fact, recently, I had the kids craft “Thank You” cards. Not only will we use these to thank everyone for all of their generosity during the holiday season, but we will also use the crafted thank you cards for birthday presents. Another idea: you can make Christmas ornaments all throughout the year (really you can!) then save them to give as presents when December rolls around.
6. Clean As You Go
I do this both when I cook and when I craft with the kids and it makes the clean-up process at the end far less insane. I always have the kids help me with the cleaning-up phase of the project too and now we have a routine down-pat. Everything has a place and everything in its place!
So there you have it my friends! Those are some tips and tricks that work well for my crew and I hope they will serve as a guiding light for yours as well. Remember that simply spending time with your child is what is most important because you are cultivating a love for creating and making memories that will last a lifetime!