Is this Art or Craft Project Right for My Child?

Recently I read this great post for teachers by Deborah of Teach Preschool about a preschool craft project which looked cute but wasn’t really that much fun for the children to complete.  In fact, the teacher ended up doing most of the preparation and assembly herself!  Now as a teacher I can honestly say we all have those days when, for whatever reason, a project we think will be a hit is very clearly a miss.  So what can we, as parents, learn from this?  Well, I think we can learn to more closely examine the projects we choose to do with our own children to assess whether they are likely to work well.  And to this end, here is a list of…

Is this art or craft project right for my child? How to choose the best creative projects for kids

5 questions to ask yourself when considering an art or craft project for your child…

1. What is my motivation for choosing this project? Did I think it was cute or is this project likely to be of real interest to my child?

2. Will my child find this project fun and engaging?

3. How much of this project can my child do themselves?

4. Does this project allow my child to respond individually, to express themselves creatively?  Will the result be unique to my child?

5. Is this project appropriate to the age of my child and their level of development? Is it challenging without being so far beyond their capability that they lose motivation?

Is this art or craft project right for my child? How to choose the best creative projects for kids

If you answer the majority of these questions positively, then I believe you are much more likely to be choosing an activity which will be a hit with your child.

Is this art or craft project right for my child? How to choose the best creative projects for kids

And next time you enter an early childhood learning space, look around and ask yourself, ‘Do the art and craft items I see displayed look like they were completed by the children? Is each one unique to each child or do they all look the same?’ Because when it comes to art and craft with young children, unique,  individual and child focused are all good things to see :)

Is this art or craft project right for my child

Is there anything else that you would add to my list?

For more about inspiring children through creativity, check out my award winning book –  Time to Create: Hands On Explorations in Process Art for Young Children.
Time to Create book

Time to Create | Christie Burnett

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  1. So good to be aware of these things! The biggest one for me is understanding that my motivation is not always the same as my toddler’s. Although I might think it’s fun for her to do a drawing/painting that’s 100% done by her hand, she just wants us to do everything together and for us both to be working on the same thing at the same time.

  2. Excellent post! We go to a particular playgroup sometimes and there’s usually a craft project, selected and prepared by one of the moms (we take turns with it). Many times the project ends up being of no or little interest to the kids and really beyond their skill level. So then moms step in and basically do the activity FOR their children. That’s one of the reasons why with very young kids I prefer open-ended process-oriented art and not crafts.

  3. Awesome post, Christie. So true to really think before trying to make a child do a cutesy project. It is the process after all more so than the product, so if the child does not enjoy either really, then why bother?
    Thank you for sharing.
    I wanted to also ask you if you would please be willing to add this post to this week’s Reggio Emilia Wednesday Linky on my blog. Here is the link to my post where the Linky appears:
    Had tried to link this post for you via Blogger, but could not get it to work.
    Just love your blog posts. You are an inspiration to me and my little blog.

  4. I love this post. Sadly, quite often my motivation for art projects was – “so I can blog about it”. Those were quite often the biggest disappointments for me, since I envisioned my daughter enthusiastically crafting while she’d rather be playing. I learned not to overestimate her desire for crafting in general and to offer 3D projects that interest her a lot more than projects that involve painting.

  5. Also, along the lines of #1 – “Am I going to be able to step back and let my children do it, and accept their versions of the craft? Or do I love the finished product so much, that I want their version to look “right”?

    With an 18 month old son, I have to accept that sometimes his version of a craft means ripping it all apart as soon as it is finished!

  6. such a great post to help us all get over the ‘wow look at that cool art activity I found on this blog and now I must do it’ syndrome!

  7. I love how you invite parents and teachers to not only ask themselves these questions but to use them as a guide when choosing a program to take your child.

  8. I think we should see crafts as experiments – what can children come up with using the materials we have? The fun is in the process, especially with young children. My older daughter (8) now likes to end up with a ‘product’ but there’s always a way to include free-style creativity in a craft – which helps the craft session to be appropriate when there’s a mixed age group. Even when we’re following instructions the children can customise the design and we make sure there is time available for them to use the materials in whatever way they chose.

  9. Hi Christie, I have been enjoying your postings recently – I teach 26 3-4 year olds in N.I. We had great fun with the masking tape & canvas last week. Thanks for this article – know it is for parents but I’m going to print out these rules & put them beside our craft area for all, especially students & sub teachers to see. Thanks for the inspiration


  1. […] through the exploration and manipulation of open ended materials. The five questions shared in this post aim to help parents to choose the best creative projects for their own child/ren — Christie, […]

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