4 x 4 = 16
Perhaps you didn’t catch that.
SIXTEEN CRAFTS PER MONTH.
Sixteen sheep made out of cotton-balls. Sixteen paper place mats that bleed ink onto your dining-table the second someone spills their water. Sixteen watchamacallits and thingamajigs.
So you see, having boatloads of
junk crafts pouring into my house and languishing on my counter tops (because I feel guilty throwing them away) was enough to keep me from adding any crafts whatsoever to our days.
But then, Neighbor M.’s dad brought craft supplies over one day. The children were so excited that I couldn’t say no.
So I said yes.
And they made a happy, sticky mess all over my living room. Some of what they made was actually quite good, so I cannot begrudge them their fun even a little bit.
However, they suddenly decided it was time to go play and they all left. I surveyed the living room and it was Not Good. I worked hard to get it safe enough to set Baby O. free after his nap.
Since then, I have slowly come up with a plan for allowing craft time without losing my mind. Here is what works for me, not necessarily in particular order:
- Keep all supplies in one giant box. (Disclaimer: no paint is allowed without supervision ever, ever, EVER.) I actually had the children decorate the box on the first day we used it. It says “CRA-FS” on it. Guess we aren’t done learning to spell yet, now are we? This box is big enough that everything fits in it. I even looked in nooks and crannies all over my house and added whatever I could to it that I had stashed somewhere else. Clean up now involves only two steps: put trash in the trashcan and all of the supplies back into the box. They don’t even have to be put back neatly. Little people can dump armfuls of construction paper into it, for all I care.
- Have someone to give/mail the projects to. This keeps me from feeling guilty. No throwing away necessary.
- Make sure the children clean up before Baby O. wakes from his nap. This prevents chaos and disaster.
- Four special frames for four special people. Each child has a frame in the playroom that fits one masterpiece. We do not change them very often, and it adds a fun, needed touch to the room.
So that, my friends, is how I manage, as a non-crafty mommy, to allow crafts after all.
However, this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg on this subject. What I really want to begin to explore is whether or not crafts have any inherent value for children. Are they a waste of time? Do we really need to encourage crafts to be good mothers, or good teachers? Are some crafts superior to other crafts? Are crafts a symptom of a certain type of culture? Think about it, and we’ll talk more in Part II.
Crafts in the Life of the Child Series Index:
- Crafts in the Life of the Child (Part I) ← you are here
- Crafts in the Life of the Child (Part II)
- Crafts in the Life of the Child (Part III)
- Crafts in the Life of the Child (Part IV)
- Crafts in the Life of the Child (Part V)
- Crafts in the Life of the Child (Part VI)
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