Thursday, February 9, 2012

Preschool Craft Time = STRESS!
10 Tips and Tricks for Crafting Success

a "works in progress box"
filled with kid friendly washable art supplies
When I do a craft with my kids we really get into it.  However, we like to be crafty and I have art teaching experience.  After hearing groans from other moms who were frustrated with the task of making valentines with their little ones I thought of some tips that might be helpful.
10 Tips & Tricks
to ease your stress when making cards with your kids (or any craft for that matter!)
1.       Lean into your child’s strengths and interests.  For example, if they love to cut things out let them go at it, if not pre-cut the hearts for them and let them glue the hearts onto their valentines.  If stamping is their thing, go for it and skip the cutting and gluing altogether!
2.       Lean into your strengths and interests.  If getting messy with art supplies makes your heart beat a little faster because of stress rather than excitement, opt for supplies that you are comfortable with.  There are lots of options available that are less messy.  For example, stickers and crayons.  If your child has their heart set on glitter and paint look for tubes of glitter glue rather than loose glitter that you’ll be vacuuming up for months, and paint brushes with liquid watercolors in the handle.
3.       Be sure it’s washable!  Unless it says it’s washable on the package it may not be.  Opt for the tried and true brands and be sure you pick up the products clearly marked as “washable”!
4.       Keep it simple. If your child gets bored making every card the same set out their favorite art materials and jump in.  But if that would overwhelm your child (and you for that matter!),  design a card that has clear easy steps for completing. 
5.       Set limits ahead of time for example say, “Here are some stickers.  Choose three for each card.”  This will prevent your sicker budget from going through the roof and keep your child’s cards from weighing five pounds when you are done.  Plus they get to practice their counting skills!
6.       Don’t make all the cards at once.  Pay attention to your child’s mood and when they get antsy it’s time to put the project up for a while.
7.       Keep a box on hand for easy clean up, then when you and your child are in the mood all your materials are ready to go!
8.       Use technology to help.  If making cards by hand is not your thing, try scanning your child’s favorite painting or drawing into your computer and print the cards.  Then all they have to do is sign them!
9.       You are the facilitator.  Yes, teach them how much glue is appropriate and remind them to keep the markers on the paper, but when they place a sticker or heart crookedly resist the urge to fix it!  Your job is to keep paint off your carpet and marker off your kitchen table.  It is their card after all, not yours.
10.   Remember to breathe!  If you are stressed your child will feel it.  Try to stay upbeat and help them have a positive experience.  Save your war stories of preschool crafting for your spouse or phone a sympathetic friend after bedtime.
You probably already practice some of these strategies in your house.  Maybe you have a few tricks of your own that you can share.  What do you do to keep crafting time with your preschooler successful?  I’d love to hear from you!  Don’t despair; keep crafting with your little creative hearts!

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