It finally happened. My littlest girl has become a crafty girl. One day she just starting thinking up things and then trying to fashion them out of construction paper. She was drawing with markers, cutting, and sneaking tape to form her creation.
The happy realization came to me one day when I discovered that Teeny had wanted to be a superhero that day. Her four year old brain was spinning and trying to make a superhero mask. She recruited nine year old big sister to help cut eye holes in a paper mask. Once her ensemble was complete, I discovered her happily coloring at the table. When asked about her get-up, she beamed with delight. Then it hit me. She's become a crafter!
I did nothing to bring about this transformation. It just sprung up. And I love it! Since I am crafty and artsy, it makes me burst with pride when I see one of my children step into creativity.
However, I know that makes some moms uncomfortable. We are not all crafty people. So when a non-crafty mom discovers her child wants to craft, it can be a little frightening. I have heard many moms say things like:
Much of this questioning and stress does not have to be there. Having a crafty child does not have to be hard. We often fall into the trap of thinking that we need to help our young children with everything; that we need to help them make their creations look good.
Let me just alleviate those fears right now. Very often an artistic child will have their own idea of what is beautiful. And that's okay!
Your job as a mom is to just let her be creative. That is all.
It doesn't matter if his creation would ever make it to an art gallery. It doesn't matter if no one but her knows what the lump of clay is supposed to be.
So don't worry about the mess. Washable markers wipe right off of tables. Glue will peel right up. Throw a plastic tablecloth on the floor to catch the drips of paint. Your child's sense of self is worth it.
Some Practical Pointers
Since this may be foreign territory for some of you, I thought I would give you a peek at how it works in my crafty house. I have found that some items should always be available to the child, while other items are special and need more supervision. Those items are only brought out occasionally, like paints.
Items my preschoolers and older always have access to:
- drawing paper
- construction paper
- colored pencils
- glue stick
- tiny pom poms
- pipe cleaners
Items they can always have with permission:
- stamp markers
Most of the time, they should just be free to create whatever their heart desires. If your child has a desire to be crafty, this should not be any effort at all. You don't have to worry about being artistic yourself. He will dream up what to create. Let him go.
Other times, you can help her with a specific craft. When this time times, you do not need to worry about making it look pristine and perfect. Everyone knows that Martha Stewart did not make it. If it's made by a child, it's okay to look like a child made it. That's the charm of children's art and crafts. The more crooked and off-center, the better.
Let go and let them create.