Thursday, July 18, 2013

6 Tips for Crafting with Kids

Honestly, I don't do crafts with my kids as often as they would like.  The biggest reason is I tend to get really anxious about messes being made and supplies being wasted.  So here are a few of my favorite tips that keep me sane:

1. When using white glue, kids tend to squeeze the bottle too much and really over do it.  So instead of handing them the bottle, squirt some glue into a bowl and give them a craft stick, cotton swab, or paint brush to use to spread the glue where it's needed.

2. I love my Ed Emberley drawing books.  They show kids in a a step-by-step way how to use simple shapes to make all kinds of things.  When we read a story about crocodiles who got sick, I had the kids do this craft where they had to draw a crocodile, give it spots, and make clothes for it.  I wouldn't have known how to show them how to draw a crocodile without Ed Emberley's help.

3. When we do any painting project, I have them wash their paint brushes in heavy ceramic mugs.  They are a lot less likely to tip over than paper or plastic cups.

4. Paper plates have many uses.  We've made several crafts with them and they're obviously good for holding and mixing drops of paint.  But I also really like to have the kids work on small crafts directly on their own paper plate.  That way, they have a defined work space that can be labeled with their name if needed and can be moved easily to a shelf for drying.  It's especially good for containing glitter!

5. When you're done crafting, have the kids help clean the paint, glue, and markers off the table with shaving cream.  Just squirt it on and let them spread it around.  It really does a good job cleaning and besides that, it's a really fun, tactile experience.  If you use shaving gel, it's especially fun for the kids to see the green or blue gel turn to white lather.  When they're done playing, just wipe it off with a wet rag.

6. Finally, just get out of the way and don't worry about the mess!  It has amazed me this summer the things that Secundus has come up with when I've left her to her own devices and free reign of the craft boxes.  It has been so hard but so worth it (and my school room has survived!)  I'll have a post soon about all the cool things she has made.

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