I have a confession. I hate cookie cutter arts and crafts.
I dislike finding a fun looking craft on Pinterest and reading blog posts featuring picture perfect crafts. Why?
Because it’s not reality. And it’s no fun for the kids.
Because when it comes down to it, there is a wrong way and a right way to do crafts with kids.
The RIGHT Way to Do Crafts with Kids
So what is the right way to do crafts with kids?
You may have heard me say this before on some of my various craft posts and round ups, but when it comes to arts and crafts it’s more about the process than the final project.
What does that mean exactly?
It means that it’s okay if your child’s rainbow doesn’t have all the colors or the colors are out of order.
It’s okay if your animal craft turns out looking more like an bee-alien with a million googly eyes.
It’s okay if the colors are all wrong, there’s more glitter than paint, or there color outside of the lines.
That’s what makes it THEIR art. Not yours.
For example- the other day my toddler and I made paper bag bee puppets. You can see mine on the left- yellow and black paint, 2 eyes- looking like a BEE.
Then you can see my 2 year old’s on the right. He started with yellow and black but it quickly turned into an odd, monster, alien bee with lots and lots of eyes.
And I’m okay with that. He got to paint. He got to glue. He got to have fun and smile and play WITH me and come out with something he was proud to show his dad at the end of the day.
What About Directed Art Projects?
I actually love directed art projects- as long as they follow the same rules I mentioned above.
You can give instructions. You can limit paint colors. You can limit paper choices.
But that’s it. When it comes down to creating– that’s on the kids. Not you.
And you’ll suck the fun right out of it if you try to force the kids to create a piece of cookie cutter art.
Below you can see a directed art project done by 4 of my sons (3-8 years old at the time). Each one is obviously the same project, but each one is different and each took pride in completing something totally theirs.
What to Do Instead
So what if your inner control freak is cringing at the thought of less-than-perfect arts and crafts projects. What do you do then?
That’s easy. Make the project along with the kids.
There’s a couple benefits of this:
1- You get to model the project. You show the kids how it’s done. They may or may not follow your lead.
2- You get one perfect copy of the craft. That should satisfy your control freak
3- Most importantly, you get to spend quality time creating with your kids. You get to have fun, talk, and laugh with them while creating something you can all be proud of.
So next time you plan a craft with your kids, remember to let go. Let it be about the process and not the final product and do the craft the RIGHT way!