Crafternoons!

I love making. I love making with my children. I love it because it’s fun and appeals to my inner child. I love it because I believe creativity is  a core aspect of our human language that needs developing, as much as learning to speak and verbalise.

I have a bundle of books with ideas for activities to do with children and en famille. We have a cupboard stuffed with materials that we might use one day to make things with.

I visit a host of web sites and have many pages bookmarked with exciting activities to do.

But somehow, our making often defaults to self-directed art and crafts that the children initiate, informed by materials at hand (I have made a point of them having lots to hand in their own craft corner) while mummy flits in and out and tries to do the dishes, hang out the washing etc.. etc…. While child-initiated activities are fantastic and valuable, I do feel a pang of guilt / parental failure when I look at the mountain of children’s activity books and our bulging craft cupboard. It’s like having a pantry full of amazing ingredients and not using them. I’ve realised that there is something about balancing spontaneity with intentionality  and choosing to give 100% attention to being with my kids and making together. So…I have decided to introduce a new rhythm to our home.

Enter “Crafternoons”. Four afternoons a week, I will now intentionally plan an activity for us to try. From now on, whenever I see / read about / think up a new activity I am going to write it down in our special crafternoon book.

Yesterday, I opened page one of our crafternoons book and started making lists of activities for us to try. It helps me to think in categories so I divided the book into sections (drawing, painting, 3-d, nature, messy play, games, cooking etc….oh and of course, mosaics) and have started populating the sections with ideas from books and web sites.

Here’s our list for this week:

Yesterday we had a go at shaving foam play (or “champagne foam” as Isabella calls it!).  We introduced food colouring and did lots of squishing – oh my it felt good!

Then, Isabella decided to do a drawing with the food colouring and some toothpicks. Great until she spilt loads of red food colouring on her hand and arm which freaked her out somewhat and led to 20 mins of crying (that was not fun).

Once we all recovered, Toby wanted to do an activity he had seen in an Usborne activity book which involved lots of black paint – heck there was mess everywhere so we went for it. Here are their beautiful creations.

Finally, as we were clearing up, Toby (totally spontaneously) decided to create his first art installation! He was intent on copying the picture on the paint container box…but because some of the coloured lids were missing, he improvised!

He was so funny – as I was trying to take a picture of his work he kept saying “wait, I haven’t finished yet” and would add a balloon here and a brush there until he was satisfied with how his objects were laid out. My little artist!

Yup…a bit more intention from Mama is a good thing. Directed activity is releasing spontaneous creativity. Love it! What are your favourite sources of activities and ideas? Which books or web sites have you actually done activities from? I’d love to hear…

7 Responses to “Crafternoons!”

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  1. Amelia says:

    oh my goodness me, what total fun!! I am going to introduce some 'art-anoons'! I think too 🙂 thanks for the great idea.

    Amelia.x

  2. Moyra Scott says:

    inspirational

  3. Dana Barbieri says:

    love the shaving cream. we did this before in a public place, will have to give it a try at home.
    I usually end up painting with the kids, stamping, collage. they also like to cook and bake. I like the idea of it being a planned thing,letting them know in the a.m. this is what we will do this afternoon. great concetta

  4. Sarah says:

    I decided to do a similar thing last weekend! My beautiful little girl, Lily is almost 18 months old and we made 'edible finger paints' – taken from the Kidspot website. We also made (well I made!) her a wire butterfly with beads to hang from a tree in our backgarden. We also planted strawberry seedlings which Lily helps me water. It was truely a magical weekend!
    Check out the photos on my new blog http://lilwhimsy.blogspot.com/2010/08/what-weekend.html

    S x

  5. Alice ~ writer, dreamer, traveller ~ says:

    I so want to live in your house *sigh* … just wonderful. Yesterday I made a garden for the puppies (a friend gave Isabella a puppy palace thing… "but they need a garden with a pool mummy!" so we made one). I love doing crafty things with her – not only does it release her creativity, but we always have such great quality time together. Thank you so much for your lovely comments over at mine… it's so nice to connect with like-minded spirits 🙂 x

  6. Elise says:

    I am a planner too. I have a folder divided into sections with ideas and activities to explore.

  7. Rachel Nixon says:

    Wow- you are so good, I'd love to hear more about these crafternoons 🙂

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