Making Craft Time Easy and Effective

Craft area at home

Cassandra’s back with more helpful tips- this time for getting your kids’ craft room in order.


Photos for this article are courtesy of Cassandra Dorman.

by Cassandra Dorman

 

Crafts aren’t just a fun way to spend time together as a family, they’re incredibly beneficial in countless ways for children. When kids are making something from nothing they are using and building their imagination, creative-thinking and problem solving skills. Young children especially are improving manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and pre-writing abilities. Kids are also working with Math. In the preschool years, they are identifyingshapes, colours, lines, and numbers. Older kids are working with perspective, angles, and measurement.

When they are following instructions from a book, they are practicing reading, comprehension, and concentration skills. And if you didn’t need all the convincing, creative minds are stimulated minds – thus, making arts and crafts beneficial solely in and of itself!

Creating something on their own – working hard, making an effort, and then seeing the result of that commitment – is a fantastic and very real confidence builder. So, we definitely want our children to be engaged in different types of arts and crafts. (This includes Science experiments, make-and-dos, creating magic tricks, etc.)

I’ve spoken to countless parents who tell me they don’t often do crafts with their kids because:

1. They never have the right ‘stuff’ to do them; and

2. If they do have the ‘stuff’, they can never find it.

Ha! I’m sure many parents can relate (I know I can!). The truth is, it’s much easier than it seems to stock your home with the right craft items and just as simple to organize them in a way that will make doing crafts with your munchkins something simple and fun to do. It’s all about having the resources and space readily available.

How to do it – Creating your own Craft Corner

Craft area at home

 

First things first, you’ve got to be willing to spend a bit of money. Luckily, almost anything you’d ever need is now available at dollar stores – making it really cheap to stock your craft shelves. I suggest grabbing some smaller bins, containers, and baskets to store the things in while you’re there. The more organized everything is, the better. Next, have a look at the list below to help you get started with creating your own system:

Must-have craft items for every family:

  • Colored construction paper (loose leaf, take the sheets out of the stack if it’s a glue-bound stack of paper)
  • crayons, pencils, pencil crayons, erasers
  • paint and paint brushes
  • kid scissors
  • glue sticks and white liquid glue
  • tape
  • pipe cleaners and straws
  • stickers
  • sequins, glitter, googly eyes, and other fun things to add to pictures
  • ribbon, yarn, and/or string

 

Extra crafty things that are really useful to have on-hand:

  • paper plates (small and big)
  • brown paper bags
  • foam paper and/or felt
  • cardboard
  • sponges
  • paint pallets or plastic plates for paint
  • buttons and/or beads
  • tissue paper in various colours

Once you have a good collection of craft items that you feel satisfied with, designate an area in your home for your craft space. Ours is right in our kitchen, because it makes sense for our children to be busy and engaged in a place we spend so much time. You choose what works best for your family.

Craft area at homeIn your craft area, organize your bins so all the craft items are very readily available. A great idea is to have a shelf for paper, cardboard, felt, etc., and then one bin for scissors, glue, tape, and another for crayons and pencil crayons, and a different one again for sparkles, sequins, and similar items. We used big Ikea blue bins and then used smaller containers inside those along with a cheaper plastic drawer unit in the corner of the room, again with smaller bin in the drawers. The more segmented it is, the easier it will be for children to access what they need to really get creative.

A messy shelf with everything tossed on top will be extremely frustrating for both you and your children. If kids are working independantly (oh, the bliss!) but can’t find what they want or need, they often give up easily or will have to continually ask you to figure out where things are. This was the case in our home until I cracked down and spent two hours organizing our space.

On the flipside, I did put together a smaller bin (apart from our segmented ones) that had several organized items in it all together (a glue stick, some paper bags, some foam, a few paper plates, a pair of scissors, about 10 crayons, ribbon, yarn, and some cut-out flowers). This allowed for our three-year-old to grab one bin and make several different crafts easily. Although the items were together, there were only a few of them and they were very well organized – making it user-friendly. This is a fantastic way to allow younger children to engage on their own and use their imagination with what they’re given.

Craft time, for us, is learning time too. We’ve come to really enjoy picking out fabulous projects to do together as a family. Having a thoughtfully organized and well-stocked Craft Corner has made my life so much easier and has enriched our children’s days with more fun, more creativity, and much less frustration.

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I founded Mums 'n Chums in 2009 after realizing that the area I live in was drastically underserviced as compared to surrounding areas for support and activities for growing families. Mums 'n Chums grew popular very quickly and I have been dedicated to nurturing that growth through frequent networking, social media engagement and in person meetups. By the end of its first year, Mums 'n Chums had close to 500 members and was receiving regular inquiries from fans outside of its service area, asking when we would be expanding to serve them as well. After much careful research and polling, I expanded the site in May of 2011 to cover the entire North end of the GTA (from Cambridge to Markham), areas I believe are still receiving far less attention than they deserve from other sites and family services. We also changed the focus from small scale local mom and tot meetups to more of an informative purpose, closing down our forum and adding several talented contributors to the blog. We do still offer several large scale family events per year, such as our popular Birthday Bash events and our Holiday Bash in December. Our contests have also become a member favourite, and we strive to offer amazing prizes from trusted brands like Babies R Us, La Roche Posay, Johnson's Baby and many more. In March of 2016, after months of work spent migrating all of the site's content to a new platform, Mums 'n Chums re-launched with its fresh, new look. The changes and expansion have proven a great success and we're still getting inquiries from several other cities within the Greater Toronto Area, whom we have decided to serve as well. I have built this site and its' reputation carefully and look forward to continuing its growth!