Depending on how you approach crafting with kids it can either be fun or quite stressful.

From a very young age, arts and crafts are a great way to engage your child, spending quality time with them whilst developing their motor skills.  It should be a rewarding and memorable experience for both of you.

Here is a 7 step mini guide to help you avoid the ‘dark side’ and keep it fun:

1) It will be messy!

Don’t try & think otherwise – generally most crafts you make with your kids will involve a mess of some kind.  Instead of trying to avoid this, go with the flow & plan ahead.

Clear a good working space, put down dust sheets, or some form of cover for your table or carpet thus removing the risk of damaging expensive furniture or carpets. (I find that cheap shower curtains can be very effective).

2) Encourage them to use their imagination

I tend to be a bit of a control freak & want everything to be perfect. I have therefore had to learn the valuable lesson of how to stand back & let them get on with it & use their OWN imagination.

At first, I would get completely stressed if my boys mixed the play dough colours together or, didn’t follow my instructions to the letter.  Then one day, whilst away with friends, I watched in awe as my friend didn’t bat an eye as her children and my boys sat happily for what seemed an age rolling, mixing, squeezing and creating things out of play dough.  Yes the play dough was a brown mess by the end – but they weren’t bothered – so why should I be?  The important thing was that they had fun.

Why not try just giving your child simple instructions & let them interpret them in their own way.  If you don’t show them a finished project it’s a great way of letting them express their own creativity and imaginative flare.

3) Experiment

Let your child experiment with lots of different craft supplies. You never know what they may come up with.

4) Prepare

Is your child old enough to use scissors safely?  If the answer is no, then take the time to prepare in advance by cutting out anything they may need.  This way, you won’t need to get the scissors out at all & you avoid the stress of worrying about them handling the scissors, or the child getting upset or frustrated when you feel the need to take them off them.

Don’t want to use glue – try using glue dots instead. They are easy to use, do not require any time to dry & there is no mess.

5) Erm.. what is it?

It is all too easy to look at your child’s final creation and ask ‘What is it?’.  Approach it a better way – instead, simply ask your child to tell you about it. They should be encouraged to describe their item or picture to you, what are the best bits etc.

6) Praise and Recognition

Children thrive on praise, so make sure that you give it no matter how their project turns out.

7) Be patient

Remember, they are children & it may take them longer than you expect for them to complete a project, or they may get bored before they finish.   It doesn’t matter – the important thing is that they have fun!

I hope you  find this mini guide useful.  If you have anything to add please feel free to comment.

Happy crafting !