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Crafting with kids, stress free

Tuesday, 16 July 2013  |  Nicola

The summer holidays are almost upon us. Craft projects are great for keeping the kids amused.  There are so many great sources of inspiration for fabulous projects for all ages and budgets - take a look at our Pinterest page, or try Netmums and Activity Village.

If you're one of the many parents or child-carers that are put off by the potential mess and unpredictability, follow these tips and you'll be like Valerie Singleton in no time!

  1. Find a project the kids will be interested in and then make a list of all the materials you'll need.  Remember to have options in their favourite colours and styles so they're excited about what they're doing. 
  2. Check your stocks - most kids craft projects use household items - then add what you don't have to your shopping list.  If possible, have sufficient materials available in case of a spill, tear or mishap. 
  3. When you're ready to get started, prep the area by placing a plastic table cloth down where you'll be crafting. If it's a calm warm day, you might consider doing it outside. If you're working in a carpeted area and there are wet materials involved, consider putting a plastic sheet down.
  4. Have all the materials set out on the table before getting the children involved. 
  5. Keep safety in mind by using non-toxic / child friendly inks, glues etc and appropriate tools for the task.
  6. Have wet wipes and kitchen towels to hand for quickly dealing with spills and accidents.
  7. Wear old clothes and/or oil cloth aprons so you don't stress about them ruining what they're wearing. 
  8. Know in advance what the main steps are.  Spend your time helping them (or making one for yourself) rather than working out the instructions. 
  9. Remember that perfection is the not the objective, fun and creativity is. Let them adapt the design if they want.  Little hands may need help but don't let them think their best is not good enough. 
  10. Make sure you have fun too!  Don't worry if they (or you) get paint on themselves.  Take photos for memories and remember if it's child friendly, it's washable.  
Hopefully these tips will help keep your stress levels low when crafting with the kids. Their hand made item is not the only memento of their fun craft day, they'll have fond memories of quality time with you.