In conjunction with our “Curriculum 101” series, let’s review the fine art of crafting. What’s a parent to do when the thought of glue sticks, pinking shears, and mounds of glitter do not send the heart into palpitations of ecstasy, but rather into fits of anxiety?
Let’s face it. Not all of us are craft lovers. Some of us don’t have a creative bone in our body. Others are neat freaks who sincerely dislike the idea of any table being covered with layers of glue. And yet more of us believe we could find better uses for our time.
When our children come to us, begging to create something, anything, it’s time to look past our own desires and start indulging our children’s imaginations. But, where do we begin?
Create a Crafting Space – If messes all over your house cause you anxiety, set up a particular area for crafting to take place. This will keep the remainder of your home clean, yet allow the children to have fun.
Create Crafting Rules – If you are concerned about constantly cleaning up after the kids, set ground rules. Perhaps you might like them to work on only one craft at a time. You might want them to clean up materials when projects are complete, or before dinner each day. Figure out where you stand, then post rules for the kids to follow.
Gather Resources – If the kids are going to craft, they are going to need supplies. Start small, see what the kids use most, and go from there. It doesn’t have to be expensive (the local dollar store is a great place to start), nor do you need to buy out the entire store. Start small and work your way up to a bigger supply. It might also help to talk to the kids and see what they are interested in. Here are a few basics you might want to start off with:
- coloring tools (crayons, markers, colored pencils)
- construction paper
- white paper
- glitter (or glitter glue)
- washable paints (finger/standard/watercolor)
More advanced crafting tools might include:
- modeling clay
- oil paints
- decorative papers
- pinking sheers
- glue dots/glue runners
- stamps & inks
- embossing materials
- sewing machine
- and more!
Perhaps you have a decent crafting supply cupboard, but lack any ideas on what to create. May I direct your attention to Pinterest? Be forewarned. Not only will you find ideas, you won’t be able to stop! There is a wealth of fun, creative activities to complete with the kids. Don’t discount your children’s own imaginations, either. Often, we don’t need to come up with any crafting ideas; they simply need the freedom to create!
If you’re a neat freak like myself. The only advice I have for you, besides setting up a dedicated work space to keep the madness contained, is to GET OVER IT. For the short amount of time our houses are messy, our children are creating lifelong memories and learning immeasurably. Don’t allow a momentary situation prevent a lifetime of creativity.
While I’m sure we could be spending our time doing many other things besides crafts (there is always something to do, isn’t there), I would argue that being creative is an important use of time. When our children are crafting, they are using their imaginations to create what they envision. How many famous artists, designers, and illustrators began at home with a pair of scissors and a stick of glue? Why rob our children of being the next Alma-Tadema?
We cannot begin to stress how important it is for children to be creative and use their imaginations. Art is wonderful! Our children need to not only be encouraged to create, but be taught about famous artists who have influenced the world around them. Through these lessons, our children will better appreciate the world around them and the hard work which goes into design.
You might not think you’re a crafty person, but give it a try. You might just find you like it!
“SEE, THE LORD HAS CALLED BY NAME BEZALEL THE SON OF URI, SON OF HUR, OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH; AND HE HAS FILLED HIM WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD, WITH SKILL, WITH INTELLIGENCE, WITH KNOWLEDGE, AND WITH ALL CRAFTSMANSHIP, TO DEVISE ARTISTIC DESIGNS, TO WORK IN GOLD AND SILVER AND BRONZE, IN CUTTING STONES FOR SETTING, AND IN CARVING WOOD, FOR WORK IN EVERY SKILLED CRAFT.”
Time to Chime In: For those who like to craft, what is one crafting supply you couldn’t live without?