Craft activities for parents who hate craft

My children love crafting – as does my aunt – but making stuff out of cardboard boxes, glue and glitter most definitely skipped my generation, writes Melinda Uys, of The United States of Mama.

I hate craft. Loathe it. But the kids? The kids love it! As a Craft Dodger of note, here a few ways you can either aid your child’s Crayola and Bostik obsession whilst watching from afar, or at the very least, limit your glue fume intake.

  • Libraries: Weekly craft sessions are a staple on most library rosters so check out your nearest and borrow a few books on crafting while you’re at it (personally I would never do this since it would suggest to my kids I like to craft and they’d pick something and then I’d be forced to source materials and make it and Oh The Humanity… but you could).
  • Craft box: This might sound more aiding than abetting, but having a big box with all manner of glittery misshaped things which can be stuck together is a definite must for the craft loather. Paper, foil, paddle pop sticks, pipe cleaners, tissue paper, ribbons, string, egg cartons, glue, sticky tape glitter, beads, paint, paper plates: the crazier the collection the more they’ll love it. Just make sure you have everything packaged up in separate containers (I use old takeaway containers) – the kids can see everything clearly and will be more engaged. Just tell them to make an alien.
  • Outside: I find that a big part of my Craft Dodger persona comes from the fact that I don’t like glitter and non-toxic paint all over my walls and furniture. Simply moving my children and their craft business outside to a place I can hose down or (even better) just walk away from, like grass, brings my heart rate down to a safe level. Obviously this is a weather permitting activity – I’m a bit of a crafting grinch but even I wouldn’t send my kids out into a 10 degrees celsius with a light sleet kind of day just so the house stayed reasonably presentable.
  • Local shopping centres: These almost always have craft stuff going on in school holidays. Check out your local and you might be surprised at what delightfully strange looking craft things your child can make under the tutelage of someone who actually enjoys This is especially useful around 10am when you’re due for a coffee and a sit down, watching from a safe distance.
  • Chalk: You can get ‘sidewalk’ chalk or just normal white sticks but either way, it washes off driveways (and even outside walls) with a bit of water. If you’re super lazy, you could just wait until it looks like it might rain in half an hour and send them out with the chalk then. Easy child led activities include tracing out hands and bodies (NOT yours, you’re allergic to chalk, remember?), rainbow making and hopscotch.
  • Pinterest: Love it or hate it with every non creative part of your body, this social media site is excellent for sourcing child-led crafting activities. There’s some pretty crazy stuff on there, so just make your search very specific terms (e.g. “Crafting for toddler, no mess”).
  • Craft packs: You can get cheap craft packs online which include everything your child might need to build a pom pom owl or the like. Be cautious: depending on your child’s crafting level you might be called on to help. Not ideal for the Craft Dodger admittedly.
  • School and daycare: A well trotted out excuse at my house is the ‘that’s a school/daycare activity’ when everyone gets a bit excited with the scissors and sticky tape. As for school, there’s no end to the crafting going on over there- those teachers definitely need a payrise for picking up the craft slack on that one! And nothing warms my heart more than when I pick up my son from daycare and he’s produced some mythical creature made of nothing more than cereal boxes, paint and glue. It hasn’t happened at my house and he’s fulfilled his little craft moment for another 24 hours: that means it’s a good day.

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