My hall closet is turning into a craft closet. What used to be a place to store cleaning supplies and light bulbs is now a home for anything and everything a toddler might need for arts and crafts. I’m talking pipe cleaners, glitter glue, construction paper, finger paint, and an obscenely large bag of multi-coloured pom poms. (I have yet to find a real use for the pom poms.) Every weekend, and sometimes when I’m feeling overly ambitious during the week, I lay out a giant plastic cover on our kitchen table and my daughter and I delve into arts and crafts time.
Arts and crafts is a time for fun, creativity, and as it turns out, it’s a time for a few important life lessons. Here’s what I’ve learned so far…
I am not Martha Stewart
Not even close. There have been a lot of failed attempts at recreating a project I found on the internet or in a book. In case you were wondering – yes, I have taken out home crafting books from the library. And no, most of them are not good enough to help me create anything that would make Martha proud. Thankfully, my daughter is only two, her expectations are low, and I can get away with passing off my own masterpieces as hers.
Glitter will live forever in my house
I didn’t fully understand the power of glitter until now. It comes in many different forms, every colour of the rainbow, and it is the cockroach of the crafting world. It does not die! I am forever picking it off my couch cushions, sucking it up in the vacuum, and discovering it embedded in my hair.
My daughter’s attention span is directly related to my own
I used to foolishly think I could set my daughter up with a roll of paper and a few pots of finger paint and then back away slowly to get a few things done around the house. Or that a new colouring book and a fresh set of crayons would buy me at least fifteen minutes to sit and stare at my phone. What I quickly learned is that it didn’t matter what the activity was, if she was doing it on her own, it never lasted long. But when I sat down and got artsy and crafty with her? We could go for hours! I realized that her attention span and enjoyment with an activity was always greater when I actually engaged in the activity with her. Better for her, and better for me.
Washable and non-toxic everything!
I don’t care how old your kid is. I don’t care how careful and neat you think they are. I don’t care if you think they’re long past the phase of putting things in their mouth they shouldn’t – because they never really are. Get the washable and non-toxic version of anything and everything you can. You will not regret it. Your arts and crafts will not suffer or look any less beautiful. And you, and your house, will thank me.
It’s (usually) worth the mess
I keep paper towels and wet wipes on standby during arts and crafts time and I do my best to never leave the room – but sometimes a girl’s gotta pee. Things get messy no matter how careful you are. I’ll say it one last time – washable and non-toxic! But the fun we have making the mess is what makes it worth cleaning up. I’m smiling, my kid is smiling, and she’s always proud to have a new work of art to put up on the fridge.
So, arts and crafts time will continue. I know my daughter’s creations will get bigger and better as she does. (Fingers crossed I start to show a little improvement.) And I’m sure I’ll learn a few more life lessons along the way : )