Simple crafting with kids

I tried to do some craft with Kate a couple of months ago but she ended up making a mess and I wasn’t able to handle it. I got grumpy and annoyed at the whole mess and told myself to wait a bit. I forgot all about re-introducing it to her as we were always going outdoors during our mornings together. A post I came across on FB which I re-posted on my timeline reminded me to get started on craft with her. It’s been many years since I have done craft with the older kids and I organized the materials I found around the house in these see-through containers (from Howard Storage) so that I would be inspired to work with her regularly (even mummy needs motivation to get started).

Simple materials

I filled the little tubs with bits and pieces of scrap and unused stuff from the older kids and from our last scrapbooking session. Some ideas include

  • Buttons
  • Aluminium foil
  • Cut straws
  • Ribbons
  • Beads
  • Small pom poms
  • Coloured paper squares

One very useful tip I picked up from that post was to use a tray. This way, it not only contains the mess but it sets a boundary for the child. Somehow, psychologically, it also put me at ease. (art and craft = mess = stress) I found that so long as her work was contained in that tray, I was happy. (Tray was bought from Ikea).

Contain using a tray

I got this glue from Spotlight (around $15). It washes out in water and is non-toxic. I wanted something really mild as Kate doesn’t like glue on her fingers and will constantly ask me to use a wet tissue to clean it off if she gets it onto her fingers.

Kids Glue

I taught her how to apply the glue onto the foam and to turn it over to stick it. She insisted on applying glue to both sides of the coloured foam. Use nylon or plastic brushes (not those with natural bristles) as it is easier to wash out.

Lots of fine motor skills at play

This kept her busy for a good half hour… And ta-da! Her masterpiece. Her siblings returned from school and they all exclaimed, “Hey, what’s that? Nice!”

Kate’s first proper craft session

Don’t forget to display their work. No matter how strange it may look, they will be very happy to see that we acknowledge their efforts.

Sane tip: I used to plan elaborate craft sessions with the older kids and end up disappointed when they didn’t want to ‘do it properly’. Now I realise what is important is the process, not the outcome. I prefer to do simple set-ups and let their imagination and creativity flow and be totally present with them in the process. Lots more fun and less stress.

Save tip: Lots of things around the house can be recycled for crafting. Paper that is used to wrap our clothes bought in the malls, ribbons from birthday presents, ticket stubs and knick knacks from the older kids’ goodie bags are just a few examples.
Update: A reader left a tip on our Facebook page that a cheaper alternative is to make homemade starch glue. Can give that a try!

Happy crafting with your kids!

~ – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~