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Why is crafting or planning activities with toddlers so hard sometimes?
Crafting is great! It helps children develop skills, learn, and, most importantly, expand their imagination. But sometimes it’s an undertaking to craft with our children. Even with my love for crafting, I still can have issues getting them done. Here are the top 5 struggles I face when it comes to crafting and other activities with my toddler.
This is always difficult. You complete this amazing craft or activity and your child loves every minute of it. Now it’s over and…. where am I going to put all the supplies? Is there room in my closet? Do I just stick it in a bag and call it a day? How am I going to display this beautiful creation that my child just made? Do I have any empty wall space to hang this work of art? How did it get 4 feet long?!
I like to keep a lot of our art supplies in a free standing kitchen cabinet. The kitchen is a room where our kids will never be alone and the art supplies will not be touched without someone noticing. The actual organization of the supplies themselves is still a work in progress for me. Most of the coloring books fit perfectly into magazine holders. The crayons are in a plastic cup, but they are not easy to get to, so they end up in the bottom of a box in the cabinet.
Then we have the large paper roll for painting and coloring. It has not yet found a home in the cabinet and is currently on the kitchen counter. The struggle is real, mommies, but we are all working to get organized!
The beautiful first painting from our little artist is on our dining room wall. To minimize the amount of space for this almost 4 foot long painting, I am going to take a picture of it and put it in our daughter’s scrapbook. This way I can still see her very first painting, but with a much smaller footprint in our house.
Crafts and the Mess
Between the paint, glue, markers, crayons, and paper, crafts and activities can get messy! Sometimes a mess is ok as long as you prepare. Chalk on the driveway is great because it washes off very easily the next time it rains. Painting outside in the nice fall weather can be great too as long as you put down a tarp or plastic paint liners.
Sometimes you just want something that is simple and quick to clean up. Other times, you are so tired that the thought of cleaning up the mess is enough to make you stop and think, “Would it be the worst thing to let her watch another Netflix episode?”
When it comes to the harder days, I like to have an easy craft ready to go or I like to have an all in one craft kit. The crafts are usually easy; they have simple instructions and clean up quickly. Doing a quick and easy craft will give you and your child back so much more than that next episode on TV!
The Not So Creative Person
For some, the creativity gene was not passed down from crafty Grandma! And then there are days the crafty in you just takes a nap! For these times, I opt for a prepackaged craft I get at a dollar store or craft store. They usually have all the supplies and instructions included and are nice to have on hand when you are just having an off day. They also make great gifts for the not so creative type. Quick, easy, and doesn’t take too much thought. Perfect!
The Difficulty of Some Crafts
Many times, the sheer difficulty of the craft has steered me in another direction. I have seen beautiful crafts that I wanted to try, but then I started looking at the list of supplies and instructions and it just felt like it was not worth the time and effort.
I try to combat this problem by thinking of shortcuts or using different materials to make something similar. Instead of a wood sign with a cute saying, I would use a canvas and paint it. Using pre-cut letters place the letters on the canvas in the saying you want, paint over the letters, let dry, peel letters off, and ta-da!
Make a cute matching game using identical cute erasers found at the dollar store or on Amazon. No need to print pictures, cut them out, and laminate them.
Crafts and the Time
Everyone struggles with time. When it comes to crafts and activities, finding time to think of one, making a list and buying everything you need, setting it all up, and finally completing it can be a time consuming process. One thing you can do is look for crafts and activities on on-line Blogs like this one or sites such as Pinterest. Use supplies you already have on-hand or look for crafts and activities with fewer supplies. I like to get my supplies from Amazon since they are delivered right to my doorstep.
Look for a few crafts or activities at the same time so you can plan ahead. Some of them may have some of the same supplies that you can reuse. If you have time after the kids have gone to bed, prepare a craft by putting all of the supplies and instructions in a zippered bag. The next time you need a quick activity; you can just grab one and go! This saves a lot of time and your child will not need to be entertained while you are trying to set everything up.
What struggles do you have with crafts and activities? Leave a comment