I hate craft time with my kids. Does anyone else feel this way?
What is craft time anyway? I don’t actually remember my mom setting up craft activities for me at home when I was a child like it was a preschool. Maybe she did and I don’t remember (Mom, feel free to address this in the comments). If that’s the case then that only reinforces my belief that craft time will have no impact on my daughters becoming healthy, happy, productive adults.
Despite this, somehow I came to believe crafts were something I was supposed to be doing with my kids at home. Whose idea was this? It’s freaking ridiculous!
Here is what craft time typically looks like at my house. I find some cutesy craft idea on Pinterest or a mommy blog and gather some supplies. A caterpillar made out of an old egg carton, cute! I tell myself it will be fun. Despite every other disastrous crafting experience of my parenting life.
I spend five to ten minutes setting up some paper, or a paper towel roll, or paper plate, an egg carton, paint, glitter, and glue or whatever stuff we’re using for our big craft project. My daughter dinks around with the supplies for five to ten minutes spraying paint, glitter, and glue from one end of the house to the other.
After we kill ten whole minutes crafting, my daughter becomes bored with whatever caterpillar or sunshine we’re supposed to be making. She starts painting her hands to make “handprints” or mixing all the paint together until everything is an ugly brown. Then she tips over the water meant to rinse her paint brushes starts splashing in it and tries to clean it up with her shirt. It’s a downward spiral from there. And I declare our craft time over with for the day.
I send my little artist off to wash her hands. She sets off for the bathroom, touching every doorknob, wall, soap dispenser and faucet in her attempt to clean up, making sure absolutely everything is coated in paint and glitter glue.
Then I will spend the next two hours cleaning up paint, glitter, paper scraps and craft supplies, cursing the day I had the bone-headed idea to make a craft.
My daughter will insist we keep whatever she made despite the fact that she didn’t give two hoots about it when we were working on it. So I will have to find a place to store her sopping wet, brown painted, unidentifiable craft until she forgets about it and I can throw it away.
I’ve come to the conclusion craft time is for suckers. And I’m not going to do it anymore.
But we have to do something, right? I love art. My daughter loves art and I want to give her the chance to express herself and have fun. But this craft crap is for people with a lot more patience than me. I’m done. Forever.
Because of this, I’ve had to search out some non-mess, non-crazy-making alternatives. If this sounds like something you could use, check these out, mamas!
Art that’s Not Crafts
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1. Imagine Ink
Imagine Ink coloring books are amazing. They come with their own special marker that is not only clear when used on anything but the Imagine Ink book, it’s also too fat for my youngest child to eat. This matters.
As your child colors with the special Imagine Ink marker, the colors magically appear on the page. My daughter has spent hours coloring these ever since she got one for Christmas. I’ve purchased at least five since. They are available in every cartoon character variety your child could possibly be interested in, Paw Patrol, Ninja Turtles, Mickey Mouse, you name it. The pictures are actually cool. And it’s art with no mess. Love it!
Foam Activity Kits are all-in-one craft kits that require almost no mess and very little assistance from parents. These are essentially stickers made from thin foam. Often they are animals where the base is the body and face. Your kiddo can stick on the eyes, the ears, the shell or some stars to decorate.
Basically, it’s your kid putting stickers on something. But they peel off easily. Nothing gets wet. No one’s hands, or floors, or walls need washing afterward. Easy. And there is something genuinely cute to show for it at the end.
3. Magna Doodle
My daughter has had her Magna Doodle since she was two years old. It’s a great toy for kids. She loves drawing on it and it has kept her busy for hours. It’s my go-to toy for long car trips. Unlike the other activities I’ve mentioned, this thing can be used over and over again. Draw, erase, repeat. So, it’s well worth the money.
And this is the ultimate in no mess craft. The pen is attached so it can’t get lost. Everything is contained in the little unit. Nothing to wash, clean up or otherwise make moms tear their hair out. Plus it’s fun. Win-win for all concerned.
I’m Off to Light the Bonfire of All My Craft Supplies…
I’ve done craft time with my daughter. It was an unmitigated disaster every time. And cleaning it up was a nightmare. Never again, folks. Never again. I’m off to light a bonfire with all my remaining kid craft supplies. Who’s with me? Let’s end the madness!
If you have suggestions for other no-mess art projects for littles, please tell me in the comments! I’d love to add some new ones to my list.