Almost all of us moms are constantly looking for new ways to entertain our kids, to give them insight, to broaden their horizons! And that is not easy! There is a ton of different suggestions on the Internet, and since both our time and our kids’ time is precious, we need to choose how we spend it wisely! So here are my top 5 tips on how to choose the best kids craft project, so you won’t waste your time!
1. Check out if the kids’ craft idea is a good fit for your kid
Sure, this make-your-own-doll-house looks amazing and it really sounds easy! But what if small hands come into play, to cut wood or sew some curtains for it to make it look that amazing? Well, it simply won’t happen!
Most of kids craft ideas out there are actually made by grown-ups. That’s ok, but if your child sees that prototype, it’s bound to be disappointed by the look of its’ own creation.
And if you jump in and help, well, I have noticed that if I say for example: “My little girl made that!”, when all she did was handing me some materials, then I will get a disappointed, you-lied, how-can-you look from her!
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So, to keep expectations realistic, you should find craft projects that your child can manage to make with only a small amount of help from you. But watch out for it not only to be age-appropriate but also to match your kid’s personal talents and preferences.
Don’t show them the oh-so-perfect Pinterest image, but show them – if you have to – something similar, another kid of the same age, made by itself.
2. It’s important that the kids project won’t wipe out your bank account
Ok, I get it, there are some crafts that are worth buying hundreds of dollars worth of craft supplies. But let’s be honest: that is not true for most kids’ crafts! As adorable their tries are, the outcome is most of the time not to be kept as a keepsake. I mean, I fear the day my kids ask me to see all of the drawings they gave to me to keep safe when they were little!!!
Of course, there are exceptions, and I myself have a closet full of their creations that I probably won’t ever throw away! But if I was to keep all of them, I would need a new house; or maybe a whole bunch of new houses!
So, keeping it real with what we buy is important! Recycling and using things we have lying in our house is a great way to keep the costs down! Though, the one thing you shouldn’t try to save money from is the quality of the craft supplies. Kids are very sensitive to chemicals and allergies, so keep an eye on non-toxic, safe supplies. Also, it’s always a good thing to keep in mind the mess kids tend to make when crafting, so choosing washable paints is always a good idea!!!
3. Choose a kids craft project that makes your kid proud of the effort
As I said before, not all projects are meant or worth to be kept. But, if you invest time and money into one special kid’s craft idea, then you should make it worth giving it as a gift, keeping it, displaying it, or playing with it, even for a small amount of time. Painting a canvas for example could always result in some great kids’ room wall decor!
Also making finger puppets, or easy marionettes will provide hours – if not days – of having fun, telling stories, and juicing imagination!
A craft that will be worth showing off will make your kid feel proud of itself and of the effort it took to make, making sure that he or she will try more and more next time!
4. Choose a craft that teaches them something new
Most kids love to draw and paint! But using only markers or coloring pages, won’t teach them to much! Try doing the same thing with a different technique, like painting using finger paint or cotton swabs!
It’s not that important for the craft to teach them something they already do well. So if your kid hasn’t have the hung of using scissors yet, try a craft that is fun and involves a lot of – safe – cutting, to give your kid the chance to improve.
Also, keep in mind that not everything has to involve learning letters or numbers. Teaching your kid how to make its’ own christmas ornaments or crafting its’ own journal, can show your child the potential it has to be the creator of its’ own happiness!
5. Find crafts with a variety
Try to find a kids craft project that involves a variety of materials (types of paper, glues, brushes, etc.) and techniques (folding, cutting, gluing, etc). This will give your kid not only an opportunity to explore new tools and learn how to use them, but also to learn that there are many ways to make their ideas reality!
In time, your kid will grow confident and find new ways of using all those different materials and combine different techniques, creating something new and unique!
If your kid finds something that it really likes using or wants to get better with it, by all means, encourage it to do so! My son started drawing and he is getting really good at it, but he only wants to use a pencil! And that is ok! I encourage him to add variety by adding colored pencils and markers, even some texture using materials I have at home (e.g. cotton), but for now, he prefers to mostly stick to his pencil and paper! On the other hand, my daughter can’t have enough different things to incorporate into her crafts, like glitter, glitter glue, googly eyes, feathers, and many more!
More tips for kids crafts
Letting kids use their imagination is the most important thing about crafting. So try not to copy every single craft detail you see in that awesome Pinterest post. Get the main idea, and then leave your kids lead the way, into whatever direction the imagination might take them.
You might find a wonderful toilet paper roll craft-making animals, but maybe your little girl wants to use the same techniques making trees. Or you’ve seen someone using colored cotton balls to make a cute rainbow, but your son prefers to make a dinosaur with them instead! Let them choose their own path and inspiration! That’s all crafting is about, anyway!!!
If you want, take a look of some crafts me and my kids made in these blog posts: