What we’ve learned…
Perhaps one of the biggest lessons learned about crafting with kids is that they see things a little differently than we do. Funny that. Read on for more, we’ll post them as they come. And listen to our interview on Craftypod for an audio version of some things we’ve learned from the hundreds of hours we’ve spent crafting with kids…
1. Talk less, model more.
When working with kids, any kids, instead of telling them how to do it, show them. Instead of talking about buying less, simply buy less. Instead of talking to them about upcycling and reusing, do it. They will learn more by watching you do it once than hearing you say it a thousand times.
2. Quit just before quitting time.
If you are doing a craft project with kids, try to wrap it up just before everyone has reached their wit’s end. Stop for lunch just prior to low blood sugar setting in. Finish cutting and sewing and stamping and stuffing, just before the proverbial stitch hits the fan.
3. Protein. Protein. Protein.
Always. For you and for them. Good protein snacks. Popcorn with butter and nutritional yeast flakes is our go to snack offering during class. And nuts too. Kathie does these amazing raw almonds that she soaks and then dehydrates. Yum. And good for you too!
4. Minimize Choices.
Too many choices makes for chaos. In the beginning we would put out the entire assortment of scrap bins to pick through. Sure it’s fun on some level and for a short period of time. But then it picks up some kind of odd momentum that is uncontainable to the kids and to us and before we knew it there’d be fabric strewn everywhere and still no selections made. Now we put out one bin. Or, if we have a lot of ground to cover, we put out a few selections on the table. And sometimes, if we want the creative focus to be on the making itself and not the selection of materials, we actually cut the pieces and give them out sparingly so as to infuse them with a greater value and ownership. Then we can fully focus on the construction with an intensity that lends itself to careful creation.
5. Turn off the TV
In the face of constant marketing to our kids, they can sometimes doubt their own creativity. They can start to think their own creations or ideas aren’t good enough or clever enough or artistic enough. We can help them by modeling free creative expression and giving them outlets to create, draw, sew, build, cook on their own. And we can encourage them to explore their own imaginations by turning off the t.v. and making our own stuff!
6. If you have a vision for how something should turn out, make your own.
We know this one because we’ve been there. We start the project as a group. Maybe to make something to send to Grandma or to enter in a silent auction or to put on the wall in a specific spot. We want the kids to make it with us because then it’ll be from them and we all know cool kid art is just plain cool. Then once they get going we start dictating color or size or shape or whatever because we have an idea of what we want it to look like and the kids have zero creative input and they are quickly losing their enthusiasm for the whole project and everyone involved is getting frustrated beyond belief. The lesson learned? If you have a vision for how something should turn out, make your own.
7. Want to get your reluctant child into a craft project? Sit down and start doing it.
We have found on more than one occasion, a child not into making something is suddenly very interested when we sit in close proximity and start doing it ourselves. Before we know it we have someone leaning over our shoulders wanting in on what we’ve got going on. Try it.
Come back soon. There’s always more!