Can I level with you? Can I be completely honest?
I am not a crafty Mom.
I know you don’t believe me. You see the crafts I do with my daughter… and you roll your eyes. But it’s true. I don’t sew and I can’t thread a needle… at all. If 2nd graders got grades for art class, I would have failed. I ate paste and broke crayons.
However, it seems that, as a 40-something Mom, I have discovered how much fun getting crafty with kids can be!
If you have the desire to get artsy craftsy with your kids, but are unsure of how to do it without setting off a glitter bomb in your house, here are 10 tips that will make it a little less daunting:
1. Start Small
Actually, start small and stay small. Most craft projects you do with younger kids should only last about 20 minutes… from set up to clean up. That’s it, and that is totally doable for a post-weeknight dinner activity.
That is the point.
Creating art with your kids doesn’t have to be a grand affair. Keep it simple and have a blast!
2. Limit the amount of art supplies at first.
Ok, here is what you do– save your next cereal box, set out some paint and a pair of scissors… and prepare to be amazed. As you and your kids pump up that creative juice, you will want to try more and more projects.
Save leftover supplies as your create projects together and before you know it, you will have quite the art supply collection.
3. Keep you craft supplies in a designated space.
When you first start out, a plastic bin is probably all you need. As you progress down the arts and crafts rainbow of fun, you will quickly notice that is is wayyyy too easy for craft supplies to get messy. At that point, ditch the bin and streamline/organize your supplies so you are not continually running out to buy materials you already have.
4. Always make time for the set up.
Okay, I know this is probably really obvious. However, I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t do this, and had to run downstairs to get one more thing. To keep yourself organized, use a caddy to contain all the bottles, brushes, and small doo dads your kids will use to create. This makes clean up fast and easy as well.
5. Protect the craft area and your kids.
If your craft will be messy, or if your kids are young, a smock is absolutely essential. We have really enjoyed this one. To protect the craft area you could use anything from a large piece of paper, to a plastic tablecloth, to an old sheet. This way, you won’t have to stress about your kitchen table turning purple. Also, this step makes clean up a snap too!
6. Use Disposable/Recycled Containers.
Speaking of clean up– if the mess is what is standing in the way of crafting with your kids, use disposable containers both to contain the mess, and for a quick cleanup. Instead of using bowls that have to be washed, snag a stack of 500 paper plates (the really cheap and flimsy ones) from the grocery store and use that as your paint palette.
For glitter, use a shallow cardboard box (like the ones soda cans from Costco come in– no judging on my soda habit. Ha!).
After your messy craft is over, it is such a great feeling to just fold the mess in half and chunk it in the garbage can. Clean up– done! Check!
7. Do the Craft of Art Project With Your Kids.
Sure, take pictures and watch them have fun. But don’t forget to have fun yourself! You might surprise yourself with how creative you can be too!
8. Move the finished project to a safe location to dry as soon as your kids are done creating.
Do this before you clean up your kid. Do this before you clean up the craft area. You really don’t want to ruin the super cute project your kid just finished because it accidentally gets knocked off the table (happened). Always clean up in this order: PROJECT– KID– CRAFT AREA
9. Process over finished product.
If you aren’t selling this craft on Etsy, don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect.. or even cute. That is not the point. The process is the point, right?
Let your kids have fun and don’t worry about the end product so much. You might be surprised that some of the messiest messes, make the most beautiful projects.
10. Embrace the hot glue gun.
There will be times when you want the project to actually resemble something. If your kids are older, this is not a big problem. However, if your kids are toddlers or preschoolers, there is a decent chance your kids will not have the fine motor skills to finish the project without your help. Enter, the glue gun.
I started using a glue gun to finish project for the blog. However, it also helps fulfill expectations for my daughter as well. For instance, if Sweet Pea knows we are supposed to be making an airplane, it is helpful if the end product resembles… an airplane. The problem is her little fingers (and the law of gravity and craft glue) just can’t get the job done on her own. So, I often let her do most of the work, and then I finish the craft with the glue gun.
So, fellow ‘not crafty Mom,’– don’t be afraid. Don’t stress. If you want to do crafts with your kids.. use these tips to minimize chaos, and have a blast getting crafty!