“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
Every child is born innocent, creative and curious. And that is a beautiful combination, which if nurtured well can result in masterpieces that wow the world for generations.
Considering that parenting theories and practices are all controversial and different people follow different solutions, the one thing that all experts agree on is the importance of art in a child’s life. Apparently, trying out various forms of artwork helps stimulate children’s minds and helps them to think in unconventional ways. Not to mention it develops their gross motor skills – holding a crayon, applying glue, sticking on pictures or doing more complex craft projects. And there is of course, the sense of achievement when a child sees his completed project, no matter how messy it is.
There are also fringe benefits of bonding when done in a group and a mode of expressing their feelings. In today’s world, arts and crafts also translate into a hobby which is a great way for adolescents to spend their free time rather than engage in mindless activities. Several centers for troubled children also use art and crafts as a medium for change.
Now that you’re convinced that arts and crafts play a significant role in your kid’s life, you obviously want to set up a craft friendly environment at home. Also, it’s now summer, and we know how summers in India can get – tortuous!!! Going out is quite a task, and so most kids prefer to spend their time indoors – perfect crafting time!!
You probably have a lot of stuff at home already, but here is my list of basic crafting essentials:
1. Colors – crayons, pencils and pens (if your child likes them)
2. Paints – the best are those little inexpensive tubs of liquid paints
3. Glue/Fevicol – the stick version and the regular version
4. Child friendly scissors
5. Coloured paper – available in little packs of square papers
6. Sticky tape – when glue just won’t do
This is obviously a starter kit that will ensure that you can do simple arts and crafts like collages. But for slightly more advanced (and fun) craft items, you’ll need these:
1. Googly eyes – for all the little animals, aliens and puppets
2. Pom-Pom Balls – a wide variety of crafts with these
3. Pipe Cleaners/Chenille Stems – can be twisted into practically anything
4. Foam and Felt Sheets – loads of crafting opportunities with these
5. Cotton – make clouds and sheep more realistic with this
6. Popsicle sticks – essential for every craft box
7. Glitter – for that extra glamour
This list was for the stuff you’ll have to actually pay for. There’s a horde of stuff that’s just lying around your house or in the trash:
1. Tin cans – with no jagged edges; washed and dried
2. Cereal boxes – Flat pack them to save space
3. Paper plates, cups and straws
4. Packing material – should be really careful here, also beware of the mess!
5. Bottle caps
6. Toilet Rolls – there are an unbelievable number of crafts with these
7. Any kind of cardboard or corks
8. Bottles or jars of unusual shapes
9. Colorful fabric or wrapping paper scraps – need to store these carefully
10. Twigs, leaves, little rocks – nature is a great storehouse as well!
How’s this for a crafting advantage – you teach kids the importance of recycling!! It goes without saying that you should put your child’s safety first as well as consider the age appropriateness of the craft project. That’s another plus with crafting – it is a lot of fun to go shopping for supplies, researching projects on the internet and then actually getting down to the nitty-gritty. So much better (and cheaper) than spending money on battery operated plastic junk!!
There’s also the question of mess, especially with younger kids. First of all, ensure adequate storage. Ideal solutions are see-through plastic bins with lids as well as transparent hanging shoe organizers. Then just spread loads of newspaper before they start, and put on a large size craft apron. That way, you can all have some stress free fun. Who knows, maybe even Mommy and Daddy will get really carried away with crafting!! So here’s to a curious and creative summer!
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” — Rachel Carson
Fabida Abdulla is a former software engineer turned stay at home Mother Lion to her four-year old son, whom she calls ‘The Cub’. She blogs about her crazy life at Shocks and Shoes.