If you have two kids under four years old, it’s likely that you know what chaos is. Maybe you can even sense it coming. And if you could pick your top five things that cause instant anxiety at the thought, I bet crafting with your kids makes that list.
But maybe it’s possible to do crafts with your young kids and actually enjoy it. After all, kids tend to love crafts and, let’s be honest, you love showing off their skills (or lack thereof).
Here are some tips for crafting at home with your two kids under the age of four.
Tips for Crafting with Toddlers and Preschoolers together!
Imagine the scene, you have told you 26-month old that we will be doing some painting this afternoon, he’s been going on about it all morning, you have the idea and even whilst he ate lunch managed to decant blue, red and yellow paint into a pallet, find the apron from where Rainy Day Dad had put it after his painting at the weekend and even found brushes to make a Halloween moon and silhouette.
All of this was carefully hidden so that they couldn’t see the supplies waiting for the perfect moment when the youngest has gone to sleep and we have 30 mins with just the two of us to paint and get messy before she wakes up. She falls asleep and I put on the painting apron get out the paints……
At which point the monitor lights up and the loudest wail ever heard sounds over it. She’s is not asleep anymore but wide awake and wants to play. I run upstairs leaving the other with Paint and brush strapped into the booster seat at the table and run back downstairs to find him still painting the moon – phew! But now we’re stuck.
That happened so often that we adapted, the pictures of a preschool covered in paint, the toddler that had decided she would be blue beard and the messes I cleaned up were worth it.
I learnt a lot in those years and wanted to pass on the best advice to you so here goes.
Keep it Simple
From supplies to the craft itself, don’t try to go above and beyond what your kids can handle. Do some research and find something that both of your kids can handle with limited supervision.
Your older child will likely need less help than your younger child, so aim toward something the older one can do independently, so you can help guide the younger child as needed.
Check out some of our easy activities and crafts to do at home with your toddler these are perfect for your older child to do independently and you don’t need to help your toddler as much as you think you would.
Don’t Put a Time Limit on Creativity
If you only have a small window of time, that is probably not your best bet for doing a craft, why not read a book together or do some simple sticker activities instead! Allow ample time for everything from set up to the actual craft to clean up.
One craft may naturally lead into another craft or even simple coloring, so let the creativity flow with an open-ended block of time.
Preparation is Key
Whenever possible, have everything prepared for your kids to begin the craft. If they have to wait for you to lay things out or gather supplies, they may lose interest or decide to pick on each other instead. Try preparing your space during nap time or the night before – everything from tarps to protect the table or carpet, to cutting supplies ahead of time and laying out paintbrushes.
This is the same advice we give when cooking with toddlers too!
Let Creativity Flow
Many of us are guilty of the need for control. Plan to give that up during craft time and let their little minds take the craft where they want it to go.
The end result may not be exactly what you envisioned, but they will remember craft time as a fun, imaginative time instead of a tense time of finding out they can’t do anything by themselves.
Instead of hovering over your kids, make your own craft! Whether it’s to show them how to do certain parts or simply enjoying the fun along with them, kids love it when their parents participate!
All you should expect is for your kids to enjoy themselves and probably make some messes along the way. This is one of the super fun parts of being a kid and your kids will love it if you let them be as messy as they want.