I love doing projects with my kids. They are eight and six, which are great ages to do crafting! Sometimes we’ll go out on walks and find things to use in our projects, but we do have quite the craft cabinet here at our house. When you have little kids, you never know when a rainy day or boredom is going to strike, and it’s best to be prepared. I think so, anyway, and so far I haven’t been wrong. Just as my husband!
When you’re crafting with children, there are a few things to know, a few things that are good to have, and a few things that you’ll need to accept. I’ll let you know what they are here in this post, and if you have any other tips leave them in the comments so we can all benefit!
From my years crafting with kids, I’ve learned: you have to choose something that is not just on the child’s skill level (although that is important, as it will keep boredom and frustration down) but you need to take your child’s interests into consideration as well. Take your child down an art supply aisle or a craft store and let them pick something they’re excited about – maybe it will be model cars, puzzles, paint by numbers, or a sewing project.
My friends often ask me what’s good to have on hand. Lots of big box stores and craft shops have little kids and projects in their discount bins or for very little cost. I recommend having a few on hand at all times, especially school breaks or during the winter. Construction and plain white paper are also must haves, along with glue and scissors (remember to get kid friendly safety scissors for the little ones!). Pipe cleaners, pom poms, and wiggly eyes are also great. Markers, crayons, and different kinds of paint are also must haves for your craft kit – if your kids are “enthusiastic” artists, get the water-based kind and save yourself some cleanup. Stickers are great to have on hand, too! If this all sounds expensive, I won’t lie: it can be. I have found that stocking up during back-to-school sales helps. My kids and I also like going outside and finding materials to use for crafts – for example: rocks, shells, leaves, or sticks. Another great place to find materials is your own recycling bin! Milk cartons, paper towel rolls, boxes, and aluminum foil can be used for a variety of things. Use your imagination!
Finally, there’s some things that you have to expect: the first is that crafts can be messy! Save those annoying circulars that come in the mail and use them to cover any surfaces you don’t want getting messy. Not even washable items will come off of everything all the time so smocks and old clothing are great to keep on hand. Second: things might not come out like you envision in your head or see on Pinterest. Your job is to facilitate (by using the hot glue gun, cutting materials for smaller kids, mixing paints, setup and cleanup, etc depending on your child’s age and ability) – if your child wants to put the snowman’s arm in the center of its face, let your kid do it. It’s their project, not yours (if you want a perfect one, make it yourself, alongside your kid). You’ll appreciate all those crazy crafts as they get older. And another tip: glitter gets everywhere. Try using glitter glue or glittery stickers instead. Better yet, don’t let glitter into your house at all (as an aside, when projects with glitter come home from kindergarten, I laminate it to keep the glitter where it belongs).
One last thing: have fun!