Hi, my name is Adora and I am mum to 2 lovely girls, Poppy and Calla. I also run a crafts-for-kids business, which teaches kids to use either recycled products, or items easily found in their homes. I’d like to say that I intended for all this to happen, but I only started crafting with my firstborn when she was about 1.5 years old, as a way to entertain her inquisitive nature. I slowly invited her friends over for group crafting sessions, and it evolved into a business.
When I tell people what I do, I often hear things like “But I don’t have the time” or “I’m not creative enough”. It doesn’t take a lot of time to sit down with your child to create something. You can do the following craft, for example, in less time than the duration of an episode of Dora the Explorer:
Paper plate ladybug craft, done with Poppy, aged 2.5 years
1 paper plate
1 piece of red paper
1 piece of black paper
1 – Trace outline of plate on red paper then cut out the circle, and fold into half and cut into 2 semi circles
2 – Paint centre portion of plate yellow
3 – While plate dries, cut out 6 small circles and stick them as dots on red semi circles
4 – Cut out “legs” and stick them on side of plate (when child is not looking, reinforce with staples)
5 – Cut out black semi circle as “head” and stick on plate
6 – Stick on wings, overlapping a little on the top where “head” is
Crafting is a great way to bond with kids; you can also incorporate many hidden lessons and values during that time. For example, through the ladybug craft, I managed to reinforce certain things with Poppy, like shapes, colours, and numbers.
The great thing about craft is that you can often opt for variations to suit older or younger kids. For example, through the ladybug craft, younger kids can learn about shapes, colours and numbers, with the help of their parents. Older kids can cut out the shapes on their own, and draw on and colour the dots instead of cutting and pasting.
One craft that I like very much is this home-made night lamp. Store bought ones are really pretty but also way out of our budget. So we made this one afternoon, when Poppy was about 3:
Home-made night lamp
One piece of hard plastic (we used A4 sized OHP plastic)
Double sided tape
1 – Cut and paste one stripe of double sided tape along the short end of plastic
2 – Draw out sea creatures (fish, seaweed, seashells, starfish) with marker
3 – Invite child to paint the drawings. Set aside to dry
4 – Turn plastic over, and paint blue all over. Don’t worry about ‘painting over’ the fish because that’s on the other side. Set aside to dry
5 – When dried, simple roll into a cylinder and fasten with double sided tape. Put small battery operated candle in the middle and enjoy your work of art
One thing I realised through my many craft sessions is that parents tend to want to do their kids’ crafts for them. If we don’t watch episodes of Chuggington and Little Einstein on their behalf, by the same logic, we shouldn’t be taking over their crafts. Set aside enough time for them to explore the different kinds of materials, take the time to explain the steps to them. Don’t treat it as a chore, but something enjoyable for you too.
Don’t be put off be the mess; there’s nothing a layer of newspaper and a good vacuum cleaner can’t fix! If you’re concerned about your lack of creativity, don’t be. Simply search for “Crafts for _________ year olds” online, and you’ll be spoilt for choice with the number of ideas available. Have fun!
Adora is mum to Poppy, 4, and Calla, 3.5 months. She tackles meal-time mayhem, kitchen disasters and playground politics on a daily basis. In between breaths, she writes for parenting magazines on a freelance basis and runs a crafts-for-kids business. She enjoys cheap chocolate, smelling her baby’s neck, and would really like a good night’s sleep. Adora blogs at http://www.gingerbreadmum.com