A quiet day at home was just what we needed. My eldest has been begging me to do some Valentine’s day crafts so we sat down and looked at some ideas. This was a bit of mistake because the crafts he initially chose we didn’t have the supplies for. Eventually, we did find a couple projects to fill our day: a fingerprint heart tree and some play dough.
I don’t often plan crafts for my children unless there is a special occasion or project; however, they do make plenty of crafts. We have a cabinet in our dining area stocked with crayons, scissors, glue, paint and other crafting materials. Naturally our dining table is overtaken with scraps of paper and crayons so we’ve relegated to eating meals in the breakfast nook unless we have guests over. Having a crafting space is probably the main reason my children spend so much time crafting.
But I have a confession, sometimes I feel bad that I don’t organize projects for them more often. In my own childhood, my parents encouraged and appreciated art. We had supplies and space to work, but I cannot remember many times that my parents prepared a craft specifically for us to do. Perhaps this is why I don’t see the sense in having structured crafts times with specific projects very often. In fact, nothing irks me more that an ill-conceived craft that require an adult to do most of the work. That being said, I place great value in mentoring children when it comes to learning new art and craft skills. Lately I have been putting in a little more effort in gathering ideas and materials for projects that I can share with them. I try to choose projects that reflect crafting philosophy and that are engaging. Slowly, I have been accumulating ideas on my Pinterest boards Natural Art and Crafts and Recycle and Reuse Art and Crafts. I also have a couple books that inspire me: Eco-Friendly Crafting for Kids and Made By Hand. Both books are full of beautiful ideas that can be a springboard for trying new techniques and projects.
So, do I think it is worth preparing art and craft projects for children? It depends. I think that children need to have the space to create and explore independently and I also believe that they should be mentored in learning new skills. It’s about finding the right balance and I suppose every child’s needs will be different. What are your thoughts?