Artless Craft for Kids

Despite my mum being an Art Teacher, I do not have one single arty or crafty bone in my body. I really wish I was one of these wonderfully talented people who can take a couple of pieces of scrap fabric and whip them into a gorgeous cushion cover or a cute outfit for the kids.

Likewise, I would love to be able enjoy guiding the tiddly winks through interesting and creative age appropriate activities. Alas, crafty mama I am not.  I could give you a plethora of other excuses reasons why I struggle to do craft with the kids – it’s messy, it’s time-consuming, it’s difficult to accommodate the skills and interests of both a toddler and a preschooler… but, the bottom line is: I have control issues and very little patience.

Of course, this is small consolation to my boys who absolutely loooove doing craft activities. They do get healthy doses through daycare and days with their grandmothers (perhaps my threshold for craft will be higher with grandkids?)  but there are times when my mother guilt gets the best of me. So, I psych myself up, blow the dust of the craft box and take some Valium.

I’m hoping figuring I’m not alone in my crappy approach to craft, so I thought I’d share a list of things I manage to do with the kids when I’m feeling vaguely crafty.  I also suspect that this post may be required as evidence in the event my kids bring up their craft-deficient upbringing during therapy in later life.

1. Cat-bed-erpillars

Yes, you see correctly, that does say cat-bed-erpillars.  I figure since I’m being completely open and honest about my crap craft, I may as well confess that the inspiration for this particular activity was the result of our pillow destroying dog ripping a hole in the cat bed. Stuffing was all over the deck and while I was rather huffily picking it up, it occurred to me it was a waste to throw it out.  And so, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the cat-bed-erpillar was born. 

Note:  Before you assume I’m total unhygienic grub – the cat bed had never actually been used because damn cats never sleep on anything that is purchased specifically for that purpose.

What we used:  Pipe cleaners, stockings/knee highs, stuffing (I suppose non-cat bed would suffice), eyes, glue, marker pen

What we did: It’s definitely not rocket science – stuff the stocking and tie a knot in the end. Take the now rather phallic looking stocking and wrap the pipe cleaners around at spaced out intervals, leaving the “head” a little larger and tucking the knotted end of the stocking under the last pipe cleaner. Make sure the ends of the pipe cleaners are even so they can stick out for legs. Finish off the face by glueing or drawing on eyes & mouth. Voila!

The Verdict: This honestly took a total of 10 minutes including prep time, so it was perfect for my Bam Bam whose strong suite isn’t in the attention-span stakes. I was pretty chuffed with how much the boys loved these guys (I think I owe partial thanks to Eric Carle) and I had to convince them that sleeping with pipe cleaners was not a good idea!!

2.  Creature Collage  aka  Crocodile with Coins

This was another easy to prepare, spur of the moment job that I conjured up when trying to distract the Wilful One (from what exactly I can’t recall). 

What we used: Paper (white &  coloured), scissors, glue, crayons/pens/pencils & chocolate coin wrappers.

What we did: I simply started cutting the coloured paper into random shapes and then engaged in a bit of creative consultation with the Wilful One about what sort of animal the shapes would make. Together we came up with the crocodile so I handed over the glue stick and left him to it. 

The Verdict: This was such a simple thing to set up and I think he did an awesome job. I must admit I’m surprised he resisted the temptation to stick every singe piece of green paper onto his collage – a glimmer of understanding that sometimes less is more 🙂

3. Glitter & Sand Art

I’m sure this little gem is not new to craft-savvy mums and it has apparently been appearing recently on the shopping centre school holiday scene. Normally not something I would be open to due to it’s fiddly and messy nature, but my mother-in-law bought the boys a couple of packs and since it was initiated at her house, I had little say in the matter. Surprisingly, once we got started I was won over. It was the inner preschooler coming out in me, I’m sure.

What we used: A kit which includes different coloured glitter or sand, along with a picture that is made up of lots of pre-cut stickers which you peel off one at a time. You sprinkle your glitter/sand on the exposed adhesive before peeling off the next section.  If my explanation is confusing, check them out here  (non-sponsored link)

The Verdict: The Wilful One (& I) loved doing this.  So much so, that I allowed the unfinished one to come home to be completed at a later date. I think the structured nature of the activity appealed to our shared anal-retentive nature!  That, and we both like shiny things 😉   Bam Bam on the other hand sat there for 2 minutes, managed to rip the top off a glitter container and upend it all over the table then took off to paddle in the fish pond.  I’m thinking the 4+ age recommendation is spot on.

4. Recycling Robots (I really do like alliteration).

This is my ultimate crappy craft pass off. I have a box full of empty plastic containers, cardboard tubes and tissue boxes which I bring out when the boys want to get crafty and I’m not up for it. They love making robots and “machines” with all the bits and the beautiful part is that no glue (or parental input) is required!!!

So there you have it. A few of the crafty things this non-crafty mama concocts.

What about you? Are you a crafty mama or are you like me and subject your kids to artless craft?

Control Issues? I know…


I know I have control issues.

I’ve always called myself a control freak although I like to think that generally I’m  pretty easy going. Certainly when things are far bigger than me, I have no desire to seize control. There’s nothing worse than a control freak with delusions of grandeur!

I just get hung up on the little things. And boy do kids make my control centre go on red alert. Toilet training, defiant behaviour, self feeding… all make me twitchy. Don’t even get me started on craft. Eeeek!

But as I get older wiser I find my need for control abating slightly. (This is possibly due to the increasing dominance of the procrastination gene). I also know my kids have taught me a lot about myself and my need for control.

I know giving birth to a mini control freak teaches you a lot about letting go. Seeing yourself in action is a real eye opener and to teach him to chill out, I need to model that behaviour.

I know giving birth to an out-of -control freak forces you to let go.  Sometimes it’s much easier to go with the flow and clean up the mess later. (It’s also helpful when your mini-me is helping to clean up right along side of you!)

Are you the go-with the flow type or do you have a few control issues like me?

Linking up with Yay for Home’s Things I Know.





Image from We Heart It