Crafting with preschoolers – five easy tips!
I really appreciate it when people tell me they have found some inspiration from the craft activities we’ve done and posted on the blog, and gone off to do some crafting of their own. I also get asked sometimes how my daughter can stay focused on an art activity for an extended period of time.
The truth is…
she doesn’t! 😛
She is like any typical 3 year old with the typical attention span that comes with that age. Most, if not all, of our art and craft activity do get executed in the space of five to ten minutes tops, even though it may not read that way sometimes on the blog!
So I thought I would list down five easy tips that I have found work for us, and hopefully will help make craft time with the kids a fun time to look forward to, when one is not busy juggling laundry, cooking and dishes, or firefighting issues in the corporate world. 😉
1. Prepare your craft supplies beforehand.
By this I mean that, if you are intending to use only specific colours of poster paints and one artblock sheet, take out only what you need so you have it all ready and are not scrambling to start pulling out sheets when you need them, or giving your toddler or preschooler an open door to start a debate over picking colours that you did not plan on using.
2. Design your craft activity to be short and sweet.
Preschoolers and toddlers have a short attention span. And they usually want to jump straight to execution, not caring a single bit about the significance of process and starting from first principles. All that can be for later. For now, keep it simple.
If there are a number of steps that require some waiting time before moving on to the next step (like waiting for paint to dry), break up the activity into short bursts. For example, do the first part before lunch, leave it out to dry while you both eat.
After some playtime and a nap, children will usually have renewed interest if you bring out the subsequent portion to complete, and will likely treat it as if it was a whole new activity in itself all over again.
3. Build the activity around your child’s favourite craft medium.
For instance, I know that, at the moment, DD relishes any opportunity to use her markers or her scissors. Find a way to work these materials into the craft, and you will rarely need to worry about whether they will last at the effort long enough to finish the craft.
4. Enlist your child’s help at every available opportunity.
Children feel important, encouraged and appreciated when mummy or daddy ask for their help. It also keeps them busy on manageable tasks within reasonable expectations, while you focus on getting some other more complicated steps ready if the craft calls for it. It can be as simple as DD helping to bring scrap pieces of paper to the dustbin while I prepare the glue mixture or paint palette.
5. Art and craft need not be an end in itself. Make it a part of a broader plan.
What I have found is working great for us is our current series of small letter alphabet craft which are tied to people or things you can find in the Bible. The craft activity provides a basis for us to talk further about the object or subject that we just worked on, either through daily living experiences or stories from a book or the children’s Bible.
Some other ideas you could consider, if you have the time to do so, is to plan a field trip, or go to the library together and find books that can help reinforce the subject.
Obviously, this calls for some preparation on the parent’s part, but I personally find it really cool to see the whole plan unfold from one activity to the other and when my children recall the craft they did and relate it to something in real life.
Fun and fuss-free craft time is entirely achievable. And entirely rewarding.
Take it from someone, who is entirely unartsy-craftsy but has found a passion for it driven by the wonderful dividends reaped in memorable moments spent together drawing, doodling, colouring, pasting, cutting and painting with someone I love who loves me too. 🙂