Anyone who follows Heidi on Instagram will know she is a Mover and a Shaker when it come to arts and crafts with her kids. She kindly blogged about the Importance of Creating with your Children in a previous blog has now shared her top tips for creating masterpieces with minimal stress. YAY to that Heidi, we all know what young children are like when excited! Lets get down to the very serious business of getting crafty with our kids.
It is a typical morning at home. You have gotten through breakfast, bathed and dressed your little and you have some time spare in that slot right before morning tea. You went for a walk yesterday, swimming the day before, mmmm what to do? You aren’t overly keen on having the paw patrol theme song stuck on repeat for the rest of the day, so you quickly rack your brain for an idea.
OH! You think as you remember that idea you saw on Pinterest. The sparkly turtles with the mini paper plates and all the collage materials, perfect!
You look down at your little love with a smile on your dial as you say, ‘you my little friend are in for a treat!’.
Totally pumped you raid the craft supplies, you grab it all, the glitter, the paint, all the little bits and bobs- sequins, beads the whole shebang!
But something happens... before you can put the little glue pot and brush down the bag of sequins is picked up and up ended on the table. Horrified you abandon the glue and try to collect the sequins and turn just in time to see the glue brush fling across the room, a BIG blob of glue following as it lands with a splat on the floor. You just are not quick enough for the events that follow.
Before you can blink, your little dream of cute little matching paper plate turtles is shattered before it even began. And you are standing there with your mouth slightly open as your adorable child is performing some form of a rain dance on the table, grinning at you like a mad, crazy person.
This was me. And guess what? It got better, so don’t give up Mamma. Your creative journey does not have to end here.
- Limit the materials and work in stages. Toddlers are enthusiastic crafters, really, really enthusiastic crafters. I have found breaking the activity up in stages and not presenting all of the materials at once. So with our paper plate turtles, we could paint them outside in the morning. And leave the rest for the next day or the afternoon. And when it is time for embellishments, only place one or two of everything out and replenish as you go.
- Show them what to do and be open about the outcome. I talk a lot while we work on a project. I say things like, ‘ I am going to pick up my paint brush and paint my turtle green, what colour will yours be?’ ‘Orange? – great choice!’ ‘my turtle will have two eyes, how many will yours have?’ Children will want to do things their way, and that is the beauty of it. Be open to their creativity and self expression. It is the process not the outcome that counts.
- Keep it simple. Keep it interesting. Choose quick projects, and ones that will gauge their interest. My little guy likes Pirates, Dinosaurs, Aliens and Bugs, if I choose projects based on his interest he is much more patient and engaged. Children like to see the outcome, so try sticking to projects that only have five or under steps. Most of the activities I choose require a bit of paint and some jazzy bits. So we have two steps and generally we split the art sessions in two.
- It takes practice. My little guy and I have been crafting on the daily for at least over a year, he is two and a half now. And there is a big difference with his engagement now compared to the beginning of the year. Choose age appropriate activities.
- Make it fun. This shouldn’t be stressful. Relax, have no expectations. Set up process activities and enjoy watching your little's creativity flourish. Use trays and drop sheets to minimise mess, set up a hand washing bowl and a clean towel. Set aside a time space where you can commit to giving them your undivided attention until the task is complete.
If you need a helping hand with creating or exploring then make sure you check out our Inspire me to PLAY Kits. They will get you and your child playing in no time and before you know it you'll be loving playtime with your kids and looking for extra space to store all your goodies.