Crafting with kids can be stressful. It can be messy and overwhelming and sometimes more work than we as Moms are up for! Am I right? It has definately gotten more enjoyable and easy as my kids have gotten older. BUT the more I created with them the more their love for creating grew which in turn I LOVED! It gave us moments together that I could choose to let loose a bit and make it a fun experience for all involved instead of one that ended in less than pleasant circumstances and feelings – ha ha ha!!!
Some of my past contributors here on Brassy Apple sent me a few of their tips for crafting or creating with your kiddos. Advice from Moms who know… what else would you add?
- 1. ACCEPT ITS GOING TO BE MESSY – can we start here? whether you are painting, cutting paper, glueing or anything – supplies are going to make a mess on top of the project you choose. Remember this up front. Be prepared for it and know that the mess can be cleaned up easier than stressed out feelings or reactions. Creating with your kids is supposed to be fun!!! and a little mess is OK! If needed, remind them before you start that cleaning up the mess is part of the creating process!
Kami of SweetCharli handles the mess in this way: “Every morning that I make pancakes, my girls want to help me. Instead of getting stressed about the mess or them adding unwanted ingredients, I found that its best to let them play along. I put my aprons on them, give them their own bowls and own spoons, and let the make ‘their own’ pancakes. I allow them to use small spoonfuls of each ingredient and they love stirring it around and taste-testing. This has become a regular thing for us and I love that we are making memories in the kitchen together. At the same time I am teaching them a skill that they will love doing when they have their own family! Check out our homemade pancake recipe HERE, and our healthy protein pancake recipe HERE.”
(If you are into PAINT – check out all the options for painting - from pudding paint to walking sticks and MORE! )
- 2. STAY AWAY FROM WHAT STRESSES YOU – no one wants Mom trigger buttons being pushed on purpose! If you are a mom and DOES not want to deal with paint and your kids then DONT!! Let them paint other places. If you do not want to deal with playdough in the carpet and finding the tiny bits all around the house for days then avoid play dough play or find an alternative that doesn’t stress YOU out.
Rachel of I heart crafty things uses the alternative method to getting crafty with her kids: I have always started crafting with my kids when they are toddlers. If I’m being completely honest though…the idea of a toddler with paint and a paintbrush in their hands is not exactly my idea of a stress-free Mom experience. When you start out crafting with little ones, try crafts that don’t require paint or use very little paint. Some of my favorite crafts created with my daughter when she was a toddler have been using cupcake liners. You’d be surprised what kind of adorable crafts you can make with them with little to no paint required!
Snag some of her ideas here!
- 3. WHY CRAFT INDOORS? Crafting doesn’t have to be done at the table inside. Take it outside, take it to the park, road trip crafts, etc. Creating outside can be easier clean up which can help with Moms stress level.
Ashley of My Craftily Ever After says: I find that when I take a project outside I am less stressed about the potential mess that we are making. It lets me relax and enjoy the time with my kids, rather than spending that time trying to keep my house clean.
And Summer is a perfect time to craft outside and try out her EASY cheerio bird feeders project!
- 4. TIME – choose wisely the amount of time it takes to SET up the project, DO the project and clean up the project. Kids have different attention spans and energy levels and project that take forever for Mommy to set all the supplies out they may not be interested in for long. Sometimes we think the project will take longer than they put the effort into it or sit for. So be aware – you know your kids best!
Also, dealing with TIME – do not start crafting and creating at a time of day when YOU or YOUR KIDS are tired! ha! that will up the stress level quickly. Rested happy moms and kids craft better and long together.
(source – draw and swap game for kids and adults)
5. NOT ALL AGES ARE CREATED EQUAL – As a mom dealing with more than 1 kid and everyone is different ages crafting can be a challenge. The older ones can do more and handle more but the little ones still want in the on the fun. For younger ones remember their small hands and fingers make it difficult for small detailed projects. Even cups of water for painting can be stressful as they are spilled and running across the table, floor and other kids artwork. If needed have craft time separately for different ages. If that doesn’t work set up a small space where the project is similar for younger kids but easier making it less stressful for Mom (but remember tip #1!!!!).
OR ditch the arts and crafts and CREATE in a different way – memories are still memories right? Reading a book as a family and creating fun activities from the story still allow creative play and interaction. Allow the kids to come up with the activities! Have them help in planning it out or getting supplies. I have found when I have a mix of ages in kids half the fun of the activity is “working” together to create it!
Looking for ideas? Heres a few
Even allowing the older kids to get creative with chapter books they have read like Harry Potter (make DIY wands)….or Hunger games (make DIY bow and arrows).
REMEMBER – we all the desire to create and we all create different things. ENJOY the moments together. Each one is a teachable one whether we are moms like it for not. Our kids see the good and bad in us and still love us. Don’t worry about making it Pinterest perfect, Just make it perfect for your child and family.