Why I Don’t Do Crafts With My Kids

I consider myself a fairly crafty person.  I sew and knit.  I’ve made personal care products.  I DIY cleaning supplies and natural remedies for my home and family.  But one thing I DON’T do is crafts with my kids.

If you search Pinterest for “crafts for kids” you will get TONS of suggestions.  Some will be easy to execute, some will be difficult.  Some will use stuff you have around the house and some will require a trip to the craft store before you can begin.  IF you commit to a craft with your kids, you may or may not end up with something worth keeping, but of course, your kids will want to keep it forever.

However, if you LOVE crafting with your kids, keep it up!  I’m sure your kids love it and as long as it is a joy and not a burden, that is all that matters!

I cook with my kids, I color with my kids, I do play dough with my kids and once or twice a year I may help them with a useful crafty project to give as a gift (bath bombs, dish towels with handprints, etc).  But most of the time, I just encourage creativity.

I don't craft with my kids; I encourage creativity!

Encouraging Creativity

We have crayons, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, markers, paints, glitter glue, lots of paper, scissors, tape and more glue easily accessible and available for use at pretty much any time.  I’ve found that my kids would rather create their own pictures than color a pre-printed page.

I encourage them to be creative and draw, paint, cut and glue to their hearts’ content.  Some of these creations we display for a time, some they throw away the same day, but most get a picture taken of them sometime.  This way we get to keep the memories without keeping the actual creation.  Each of our children also has a bulletin board in their rooms that they can use to display special creations.

I don't craft with my kids; I encourage creativity!

Learning Actual Crafts

By the time a child reaches second or third grade, they usually have the focus and the fine motor skills to be able to learn a craft like sewing, cross stitch, knitting, crocheting, etc.  Wait until there is an actual desire to learn a particular skill; then start slowly and don’t force it.  Enjoy the process.  This is also a great opportunity to encourage some one-on-one time with you or with a special friend or relative.  My mother-in-law has taught my eldest basic sewing skills.  It was great one-on-one time for them!

As a child’s desire to learn a particular skill grows, there are many resources available.  From YouTube videos and Craftsy classes to How to Draw books and various homeschool art curriculum.

I don't craft with my kids; I encourage creativity!

My Favorite Creative Supplies to Have on Hand

This is not a sponsored post.  These are actually what we buy, love and use!

Markers

The regular “fat” markers as well as the fine point (or thin line).  I like getting a few sets in different color collections (classic, tropical, pastel, bright, etc).  The Crayola Washable markers are by far the best at washing out of clothes and off of surfaces.

Crayons

My kids only use crayons occasionally so I only keep a box of 24 on hand.  Again, I think Crayola is the nicest to use.

Colored Pencils

We like to have a basic set of colored pencils, and don’t forget a sharpener!  Crayola and Pentel make nice colored pencils

Paints

We keep watercolor paints with 16 colors on hand at all times.  Washable finger paints are fun but still a bit messy.  Watercolor pencils are fun for older kids.  Crayola has a basic and inexpensive set of watercolor pencils to try and see if you like them.

An inexpensive set of paint brushes of various sizes and with various brush styles is also fun to create different effects.

Chalk

Fun inside on a chalkboard (be prepared for the dust).  Great to use outside to create large-scale drawings!  Just don’t leave it out in the rain.

Scissors

Fiskars makes nice safety scissors for young children as well as scissors with a pointed end that can make detailed cuts but still work for small hands.  I like to have one pair of scissors per child.

Glue

White or clear “school glue” and glue sticks are nice to have.  Elmers is an inexpensive brand that works great.

Tape

Masking tape and clear/transparent tape work well for almost anything.  3M Scotch brand is the best: it sticks the best and the dispenser and tear strip work the best.

Fun washi tape or other decorative tape or stickers are fun embellishments for kids too.

Glitter

Kids love glitter but it can be such a mess!  Whoever created glitter glue is a genius!  Works like glue, comes in fun colors, but cleans up with water just like glue.  No more vacuuming glitter up for days!  Sequins or other larger sparkles can be glued on individually and cleaned up much more easily than glitter also!

Paper

Large packs of basic white printer paper and construction paper can be found very inexpensively.  We also asked our church secretary to save any papers that are only printed on one side that she would otherwise recycle.  The kids create on the unused side and then we recycle when finished!

Those are our favorite supplies to keep on hand to encourage creativity in our children, do you have any favorites?  Please share in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Do Crafts With My Kids

  1. I grew up with a combination of both occasional craft projects, and encouragement and supplies to create on my own. We also did not watch much T.V. at all, and without all the technology now available, we had lots of time to play. I put some of this to use in creating things on my own. Sometimes my mom was happy with my efforts, and sometimes not so happy (like the time I used great quantities of glue to create a 3-D paper village). 🙂 As we got older my parents happily provided for more complex projects as they were able.

    I think the combination was a good thing in my case. Being a perfectionist I was able to produce some “useful” things that actually looked more or less like they were supposed to while doing craft projects. Also I learned to follow instructions which was very important. This helped with confidence that I could do things. But the random, self-motivated creativity gave me confidence that I could create on my own and also good experience in the creative process from bare supplies to something I (hopefully) liked. My mom and Gramma both taught me various basic skills like you mention which contributed to my ability to create on my own immensely. 🙂

    1. Thanks Mary! I agree that the occasional organized craft project can be beneficial for children. My kids get this often in Sunday School at church and now that they are getting older they have the skills and patience to do more involved projects. Origami and basic wood models are really enjoyed by my son.

      1. Yeah, I’d have to say that the majority of my organized craft projects were related to things like school and church related events. 🙂 My Gramma also liked to do an occasional craft project with me as well, but we didn’t live close enough for that to be very often.

        Here’s a question that your article made me think about just now. Do you think that too many prepared and organized craft projects could actually have a negative effect on creativity? I can see how that could happen – where as kids become dependent on a “plan” and carefully prepared details they lose the ability to invent on their own. That’s interesting to think about.

      2. I haven’t done any studying specifically related to craft projects and kids’ creativity. However, I know that free-play time is important to develop the imagination and creativity. I would assume the same is true with arts and crafts projects. We intentionally make sure our kids have plenty of time most days for free play (which also gives them the option of free time to create their own art). This is also one of the bonuses we have found with homeschooling: school takes less time and leaves more time for free play and creativity. Once kids are old enough to want to learn a skill (such as drawing or painting) then organized classes or lessons in the specific skill gives them the tools to be creative on their own in that medium.

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