By Walcott Aganu

“Every child is an artist; the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”

– Pablo Picasso

Research has established that craft activities are perfect for children as they develop fine skills and creativity and it encourages kids to explore different ideas. However, many parents still dread doing craft activities with young children or toddlers because of the mess and the required parental input.

Are you stifling in frustration every time your child asks to paint? A little nudge and guidance in the right direction can be of great help and encouragement to kids. We have a few ideas that might help you find a comfortable compromise for you and your budding artists.

Here are tips for crafting with Children

1. Early preparation and planning

Prior preparation is vital to enjoyable craft sessions, just like cooking with children. When having a craft session with kids, make sure that you have thought about it in advance and have an activity planned and ready to go, failure to prepare in advance may result in children losing interest in the session while you get things ready. Everything must be out and ready when the children arrive to play.

2. Take one step at a time.

When organizing a craft session with kids, don’t be tempted to offer several options and expect a child to make up his/her mind. Ensure that you have one activity organized, whether play-dough, painting, or making something, and then help the child complete it. If you are giving your attention, and something fun to do, you are unlikely to receive complaints that an alternative activity is not available.

3. Introduce age-appropriate activities 

Having kids engage in age-appropriate activities is much more enjoyable during the craft. For instance, a two-year-old may be happy to cut up a few pieces of coloured paper and stick them randomly onto a card. At the same time, a four-year-old will probably want to take a picture out of the bits. It’s essential to have a bit of thought about what you can expect your child to do, especially if you have more than one activity.

4. Employ the resources on ground

If you are the type who struggles to develop new ideas for craft activities, you need to use the resources available. You can use children’s libraries as they often have books of craft ideas, and you can look at them together with your child to decide on possible activities. You can also buy craft sets to avoid having to prepare yourself apart from finding the glue.

5. Be part of the activity 

Try participating in whatever the craft is with your child. Painting, especially wet-on-wet watercolour, is impressive and relaxing. The sight of spilt paint will seem less disastrous when you have allowed yourself to be part of the activity and not just a servant to it. Rediscover the magic of crayons you knew in your childhood; colouring takes on a new dimension when you share the experience with your child.

6. Do away with the craft you can’t tolerate

Be free to do away with crafts you can’t tolerate. There are so many options to explore that there is no reason to have activities that make more of a mess than you can stand. For example, having makers in the house will leave the kids with the temptation to mark the furniture you can do away with markers.

7. Let go of perfectionism  

Let your child lead the craft.  If he or she wants to have a purple sheep, then that is perfectly fine.  Crafting helps to develop imagination, and imagination fuels creativity.  It does not have to turn out exactly like the picture!

Sure, we have not forgotten that crafting with children can get messy, leaving your environment in a deplorable manner. However, if you are bothered about the mess, control is crucial and here is how you can do it:

Limit the number of colour paints to avoid spillages;

Keep only one brush per paint pot and leave it in the bag during painting;

Try using paint pots with lids that can be stored with the paint in them to reduce washing;

Still, have your olds sheets with you right/? Use them to catch drips and spread it out on the floor (preferably on a wipe-clean floor) to save your carpets or tiles.

Try painting outside whenever possible so that you can hose down any spillages.

Crafting with children has excellent benefits for their psychological growth and imaginative reasoning. Although children craft is stressful, its benefits outweigh the cost. By applying the tips, we mentioned crafting with children can be fun and easy.

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