I’m excited to be participating in this thoughtful series on connecting with your children by Childhood 101. As a craft blogger, when Christie asked me if I wanted to take part I initially tried to think of a specific project which would foster a connection through crafting. However, the more I thought about it the more I have come to realise that the project itself isn’t really that important, it’s the time that you spend together doing something you both enjoy which fosters a connection.
Perhaps it has been my passion and interest which has rubbed off on my girls, or perhaps they would have been attracted to creative activities anyway but I can honestly say that the time we have spent together over the years making things has been a wonderful way to connect with both of them. At the ages of seven and eight they love crafting and I have enjoyed seeing them improve their skills and creative thinking with the hobby and interest we share.
Not everybody loves crafts like we do, maybe your shared interest is gardening, cooking, reading or walking. They are all great ways to form a connection with kids too. However if crafting is something that you, or you and your children enjoy (or you think you might like to try here are a few guidelines I follow which makes crafting with kids easy and fun.
Kids will get side tracked, and that’s OK
If you set out what you think is an exciting art project and they decide to paint their feet instead that’s OK, or if you have a particular theme in mind and they are more interested in their own random ideas that’s OK too. Remember that you are enjoying spending time together, and nobody is going to be enjoying that time if you are arguing over the way you should be doing things. I always remind myself that when kids explore their own ideas they are developing their imagination and creativity. They are learning something, so going off on their own tangent is a good thing.
Kids will want to take the drivers seat
It’s fun to let kids be the creative director of their own projects. My girls often come up with ideas but still ask for help and support achieving what they want to make. It’s always exciting to see what they come up with and at times I am surprised and inspired by their creativity. One such project is this flying fairy car initiated and executed almost entirely by my daughter when she was still in pre-school. She loved going to the store to select a box to her liking and painting and decorating it all by herself, all with a vision in her mind of what she was going to create.
Kids will make mess
I know that it is easier said than done, but try not to get too too up tight about the crayons on the floor, the paint smears on the table and glue and glitter in the hair. Your kids are totally absorbed in the creative process and that’s the way it should be. Enjoy the time you are spending together and remember that mess can be easily cleaned up later. Mix and Mess backyard science is a fun, experimental project which makes a very satisfying mess that can be simply hosed away at the end.
The simpler the better
Some of the most enjoyable projects are the easily achievable ones. The ones with room for creative license and a low difficulty level, like this no-fuss activity of drawing outdoors with nature and chalk. You don’t need fancy materials, you can make lots of things from recyclables destined for the bin or sticks and stones that you find in the garden. Although we have a huge collection of craft materials at our place the items which get the most use are the basics. Paper, textas, glue, brushes, paint, sewing materials and yarn are the main things we use.
Don’t be afraid to work together
Collaborative projects are lots of fun and a great way to connect through crafting. If you’ve not tried making a project together with your kids, you should! This Paper Roll Tree is a fantastic collaborative project and can be enjoyed by children of all ages.
Make things for each other
I love it when my kids make special things for me. I’ve received lots of sweet little cards, bracelets, paper rings and handbags and they never fail to make me smile. A fun idea is to design colouring pages for each other with patterns and pictures, this is something I do for my girls regularly and they design pages for me to colour in return.
I hope that I have given you a few useful pointers to enjoy some quality time crafting with your kids. Remember it is the time you spend together that counts, not the amazing finished craft you end up with!
Looking for a fun, crafty project to try? Check out Kate’s Craft Stick Butterflies