I would love to hear when, with whom and how often crafts are done in your home. I'd like to start crafts together daily, but most days the only things that get done are meals!
What is craft time like?
Pretty free for all over here. We're always creating. I can't go a day without creating, my kids have picked up on that. I have a shelf-wall of materials for them, basically if they want to do something they just go get it and start.
Can you cook while you craft? In the winter especially, I make lots of dishes I need to be around to babysit (soup, lasagne, warm dishes) but don't need to be actively involved with the whole time, and the kids migrate their crafts into the kitchen and we play while our food cooks, and keep playing through dinner usually :)
Hmm, yours seem a little younger than mine, but when I had them at 2/3 I did a lot of shorter crafts. Anything too long and they got distracted or frustrated.
Maybe you can even use it to buy yourself time to do what you need and want :o) When I was working in the kitchen I'd often strip mine down to their undies and give them the end of a can of aerated whipped cream, to play with on the counter. I tried shaving cream once but they were toddlers and tried to eat it, so we switched to something less toxic. Great fun, they'd draw with it, smear it on each other, make shapes. And it just wiped off and hosed off when they were done. Bought me a good phone call or undivided attention to a meal or craft of my own. A basic dough was great for that too, homemade playdough is the greatest thing ever. We still make it all the time.
If you're concerned about mess, I'd have a little box of things they can do whenever and get for themselves that don't make a mess, and keep that handy in the high-traffic room of the house where everyone tends to hang out, then keep the messy crafts in a different area to do when you have more time to supervise. Us, we love mess, so we just keep it all in one place ;)
Good luck and have a little fun every day!
It's great that you make time everyday. I feel like I can't leave stuff out because glue sticks, crayons,markers and colored pencils all get chewed and tossed and playdough migrates to wherever I am. I can't set them up then go nurse the baby,though they can see me from the dining room. The highchairs we have are for bigger kids - more like a booster with a tray so It's hard to sit with them at the table. I've been enjoying holding the baby for her naps, but I'm just starting to feel like I have the energy to do stuff while she naps instead of resting in the rocker and want to get more into craft, I just need to DO it!
We do crafts almost everyday, DD1 LOVES crafts. I however am the least crafty person you ever met so I usually find some sort of project on the internet with directions and we go off that. I only get out the supplies we need for that particular craft otherwise DD goes nuts and there is glue and glitter all over the apartment in short order, LOL. We sit at the kitchen table and create away. I also try to just have basic art supplies around so DD can just create on her own without being told what to do. She seems to have a real interest in art so I am trying to foster that/
At that age, I had to revise my expectations for crafting. We would watch Art Attack or something similar on public television and I'd have these big, elaborate ideas for creative activities. But my kids just liked to cut paper into endlessly smaller bits of paper and considered that fun. I'd start trying to direct them and we would all end up frustrated. I learned to let them direct the activity and decide how intricate and challenging to make it. Perhaps you could set aside one or two days to do more elaborate crafts together, and keep things fairly simple the rest of the time, until they can be a little more independent.
I agree with the pp. At the ages of your 2 oldest kiddos you will want to keep expectations pretty low in terms of completing actual projects.
The biggest hits with my kids when they were around that age were:
- Gluing things on thick paper (buttons, feathers, foam craft thingies, etc). I found white glue worked better than glue sticks. I often would spread a bit of glue around and they would choose and stick the stuff.
- Painting with watercolours
- Cutting with safety scissors (not sure if your almost-2yo is ready for scissors)
- Decorating (whatever) with stickers (a fun one we did once was decorating crowns with jewel-looking stickers).
- Drawing on a chalkboard with chalk (or on the sidewalk if it's warm out)
- Aquadoodle. If you haven't tried one you should check it out. You draw on this special mat (they make them big - to go on the floor, or small) with a pen filled with water. It eliminates the potential for pens drawing on the walls, etc.
- Fingerpaints are fun too, but I have always found them so messy that we rarely bring them out.
- For your 3yo you could try beading with big preschooler-sized beads on a shoe lace.
The Aquadoodle is a bit safer, re. mess potential (ie. you could leave them to play with it on their own). And, if you have a yard, you could let them out with a bunch of sidewalk chalk. Other than that I think you'll need to sit with them during craft time. Are their highchair trays big enough that they could do crafts on them? Or do you have a kid table they could sit at?
Great previous posts! Open ended activities are more appropriate at these ages and less hassle. I'd add nice quality crayons, coloured pencils or markers for drawing lots of whatever on blank paper and large beads for the three year old (2 you have to go buy if she would eat them) and pipe cleaners or yarn with a nice, large needle to thread them with. When mine were little, we saved the organized crafts for seasonal activities, like decorating the Christmas tree or colouring eggs, and we did them together. Choose something easy but that will look nice enough they'll still be proud of it when they are older, like using Christmas cookie cutters to cut out salt dough ornaments and painting with watercolours, glittering shells and making a wreath, or dyeing blown out eggs. Another great "craft" is cooking together, and kids that age love it! Tear up lettuce, let them use clean hands to mix cookie dough, all that. And gardening or arranging flowers can be a nice take on craft time, too. Crafts can be practical forms of creativity, not just 2-D typically artsy stuff.
We do things almost every day. My go-to is drawing. We buy a big package of coloring paper at BJs (warehouse club) and the kids know where to get it. We also always have crayons in a pencil box on the dinner table.
Usually every few months, I'll make up a big batch of playdough. The kids get rolling pins, knives, cookie-cutters, etc. and go to town. They'll actually play with it for nearly an hour. :)
I bought some of the Kumon craft books (cutting, pasting) and those are great for days when I don't want to plan anything.
We have tempura and watercolor paints too. I think we paint maybe once per week or so. I'd do it more often, but I hate cleaning up--although really, it's not a big mess usually.
I'll try an actual project every few weeks. Last week we made flowers out of coffee filters. Color on coffee filters with washable markers. Then let your little one drop water on the coffee filter. You want it to get wet all the way through--so the colors run. Let them dry, and use pipe cleaners as stems.
My youngest is just about your oldest age and we do more free art than crafts. I give her things like tempra paint, water color paints, bingo markers, finger paint, play-dough, collage materiel and a glue stick, scissors and strips of paper, crayons, markers, stamps. I give her different sized paper/brushes or different objects to paint with (tooth brushes, bath puffs, toys, etc), I vary the different colors i give her. Some days I will give her one color, some days all the colors, some days 2 primary colors for her to discover a new color with. We are just starting to do crafts here and there, but she really isn't super into actually making anything yet. She would rather just explore the different supplies. For my school age kids, I have a art supply cabinet in my dinning room. It has a bunch of basic supplies (minus messy paints) and some craft books/coloring books in it. They can create whenever they want to.