Q: My youngest is still too young for some toys and crafts that my oldest loves to do (crayons, paints, scissors, playdoh). How do you make sure that your oldest gets the enrichment from age-appropriate crafts when your youngest screams and cries over not being able to use those kinds of things? (My girls are 14 mos apart and my youngest is 23 months old. She just isn't ready for the things I listed above.)
A: Let me start this response (as a person who once loved crafting) by saying that crafting with my kids requires a whole different level of patience that I never expected.
The main suggestion we recommend is to be well-stocked with things that are age-appropriate for your youngest one. Take cues from what they are doing at school: dot/shape stickers, dot stampers, painting with plain water, etc. Your youngest is close to being able to do PlayDoh if you give her a small amount and something like Model Magic or Floam that comes up easily. Color Wonder paints and markers are great because they are also easy to clean up if things get out of hand.
I do not claim to be an expert in the crafting with kids arena (coloring and drawing is about my limit) so I called in an expert to give provide a few suggestions. Amy of TeachMama (who I know in real life) is a fellow Baby Buncher with kids 7,5 and 3. Also, she's pretty awesome, too.
The first thing she recommends is to forget about the mess. Once you surrender to the mess and accept there will be clean up, the kids can be creative and you can have fun, too. She says with all crafting projects she tries to give each child a focus.
Here are a few examples:
- Happy Heart Decorating: The older two followed the lines and cut out the hearts, the little one just cut the tissue paper into chunks.
- Painting Flower Pots: The 3-year old's job was just to cover the flower pots in white. The older kids got to decorate.
- Pet Rocks: Amy claims this one is hard to mess up for any kid. Everyone washed the rocks and all painted.
We hope this gives you some ideas and suggestions for ways to craft with your Bunch. With all this cold weather lately, our own homes have been filled with tissue paper, stickers and glue. Happy crafting!
For more inspiration, check out a previous post on this same topic: Crafting with kids