Crafty is trendy now… not that I’m complaining. Suddenly it’s slightly less weird for me knit in public or to keep cupboards overflowing with pompoms and popsicle sticks-at least I like to pretend it is. When I spend hours crafting a project (like a hand stitched dainty Cinderella mouse) the queries to my sanity are less frequent. All at once, including my kids in the fun is suddenly seen as not the height of madness, but creative. Bold.
Let me tell you, I could get used to all of this!
A crafty child is a happy, creative one. It’s also a constructive way to fill those long summer days when the kids are bored; not to mention a crucial part of my summer survival guide.
You don’t need to be an expert to craft, especially with your kids. Creativity is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger you become. Even if things are a complete flop (and we’ve certainly had our share of those around here) it’s still incredible fun. Memories are made, and for a few moments at least, we’re not practicing our couch potato skills.
I never used to be a crafter. In fact, not only was I certain that I couldn’t, I had zero interest in anything crafty. Believe me them when I say, if I can do this, then anyone can. You just need to find your inspiration.
Unleashing My Crafty Side
When a craft was announced in my class or church group, I was that kid. The one groaning in horror. The brat taking multiple trips to the bathroom or water fountain. Rushing through the process as fast as I possibly could to escape my crafty fate.
In my defense, most of those crafts were stupid. I’d use a toilet paper roll telescope with the best of them, but why did I have to decorate it first before actually getting to play with it? What would I even do with that painted wooden bunny? Other than collect dust on my already messy bedroom, not much.
The game changer happened in grade five. I began attending a Waldorf school, where among other wonderful things, Handwork was a class. Handwork: a class where I got to build and make not only useful, but beautiful things. Playing with real clay, learning how to knit, woodworking…. these are all part of the Waldorf handwork curriculum. Here I first experienced the thrill of making something. Of savouring the feel of good materials in my hands, and figuring out how to do what I’d once dismissed as impossible. Suddenly the boring was wondrous, and I wanted to be a part of it! Very quickly, handwork became my favourite class.
Things have simply grown from there. Now I am a passionate crafter, and I want my kids to experience that joy too. We all should. We all can.
So, where to begin? How do you get inspired and get crafting? Following the example of my handwork teachers (plus many mistakes from doing this with my own kids) I’ve learned a few things. Avoid the pitfalls and get right to the fun. Let your creative side out to play and make something great.
1. Find Your Fabulous
It ain’t worth the trouble unless you and your kids want to make it! Just like there’s ample resources for art, there’s a wealth of crafty ideas out there.
2. Give the Kids the Reins
Anything requiring adult assistance every step of the way defeats the purpose of child crafting. Don’t bother with those projects.
3. Don’t Rush
Beautiful things take time. Haste makes waste. We want the product, but the process is half the fun.
Year-Round Crafty Fun
We are now days, days(!), away from summer vacation. While crafting with my kids occurs more regularly in the summer, it need not be limited to that. Certainly it helps me to stay sane until September, but enjoy it any chance you can.
Come join the fun! Starting next week my Facebook page will be up, and among other things I’ll be sharing our crafty efforts throughout July and August. I also have a Pinterest board full of ideas if you need some inspiration to get you and your kiddos started. Some of my favourite craft books will be shared on Thursday.
Inspiration for crafting is everywhere. Just be warned: it’s highly addictive. I’m always stumbling across some new project or skill I can’t wait to try.
What’s one thing you’d love to do? Is there anything you long to make, or have that’s all handmade? Comment below.
Until next time my friends, go. Unleash your crafty powers!