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Keeping Your Sanity While Crafting with Kids

I’m a Pinterest mom. I do not cook gourmet, five course meals or have an elaborately decorated, perfectly organized house. I’m not that kind of Pinterest mom, though I wish I was and therefore do not find any fault in those who are. My happy place is a few hours to myself, covered in glitter, glue, and paint, creating a gift for someone I love.  Though my crafts aren’t anything you’d find on Etsy or would actually pay money for at a craft fair, I enjoy the planning and the process of creating. I make my kids’ Halloween costumes and Valentines treats for school… and I sometimes wish I would have just gone to the store to save myself the inevitable headache. My daughters have inherited my glitter-craft-gene and enjoy making “masterpieces” with me. But crafting with children can make even the most patient Pinterest mom lose her cool. Don’t worry, I’ve got some tips that are sure to help.

Top five tips for crafting sanity

  1. Designated craft clothes. Kids are messy. Like REALLY messy! So no matter what kind of project you want to do with your toddler, have designated craft clothes. I have an entire drawer of play clothes: stained, dingy clothes that you throw on to play outside. You can also let your kids use one of your old t-shirts, something over-sized that covers them from shoulders to toes. Let your kids know if they’re going to be crafty, they need to wear their craft clothes. It’ll save your sanity when it comes to laundry.
  2. Designated craft zone. In our house we have a steadfast rule that all colors, markers, and craft material MUST stay at the tiny table (a second-hand toddler table that is the perfect size for them to either sit or stand at while being crafty). If anything leaves the table, we are finished for the day. No warnings; we’re done. All painting, glitter, and ‘messy’ crafts are done outside where messes are easily cleaned up with the garden hose. Paint will be spilled, kids will color outside the lines onto your tabletop, stickers will be stuck in the most undesirable places. You can use a cheap plastic table cloth to help catch messes. An unfinished basement or garage are great craft areas. Having a designated craft zone where kids are free to get messy will help keep the joy of crafting and help calm the anxiety of the mess.
  3. Well stocked craft supply. Crafting is only as expensive as you want it to be. If you’re just starting to add some supplies, there are so many options to get started. Stores like Dollar Tree, Michael’s, and the dollar zone at Target are my main go-to hot spots when looking for craft materials. Pick up a carton of cheap crayons, markers, construction paper, and a pack of stickers and you’re set! Always check the clearance section! Clearance costume jewelry you’d never wear? If it’s the right price you now have beads to be glued or strung on your kids’ next big art project! Clearance picture frames are wonderful for your kid to paint and decorate to then be used to frame their art! Also don’t forget to look around your house. Paper plates make awesome paint pallets. Toilet paper rolls can be crafted into binoculars. Newspapers are great coloring books. Cookie cutters make awesome stencils and PlayDoh toys. Your kids shouldn’t be the only ones using their imaginations!
  4. Organization is key. Take it from me, getting and keeping craft supplies organized can be a challenge, but it’s absolutely doable. Clear storage totes are my main organization tool. I put all of my supplies in small totes: crayons, markers, stickers, paints. This way, you aren’t battling a torn crayon box at pick up time! Set the standard that after you’re done crafting, all supplies need to be put back in the appropriate tote. If kids are capable of putting color on paper, they are capable of helping you pick up. Don’t forget to have a storage solution for all of those finished art projects. I label all of their projects with their name, month, and year. I have a large tote that I put them in after taking them “off display”. I don’t keep everything, and I throw out more than I should probably admit (I only need a few scribbles that are supposed to be fish).
  5. Have FUN! I know this is easier said than done for some people. Keep your expectations low; if you’re pressuring yourself into being the next Martha Stewart or Joanna Gaines you’re setting yourself up for failure. Try to see the fun and enjoy the creative process of a child. Plus, think of all the adorable gifts you’ll be able to give to grandparents, cousins, and teachers!

Painting outside

There you have it, my Top Five Tips to keeping your sanity during craft time. If you’re interested in any of the fun crafts that I attempt with my kids you can find more info on my Pinterest boards here. Enjoy the mess art!

 

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