Most kids like craft projects. The coloring, the cutting, and the gluing all make for creative (albeit messy) fun. Final projects can be showcased with pride on the refrigerator door, framed to decorate a blank wall, or given to a friend or relative. The oohs and aahs issued by the artist’s adoring fans (even if it’s just mom and dad) can help build self-confidence in your child and encourage even greater effort next time.
Here are some ideas to try at home this Fall:
1. Think outside the crayon box. Old magazines with kid-friendly pictures and words offer a world of possibilities. Try this: Let your child cut out pictures of people, clothes, animals, etc. and use a glue stick to attach them to construction paper. Then help your child create a Halloween or Thanksgiving story about the pictures and fasten the pages together with brads. This is a great way to teach sight words or to work on other reading skills. Kids love reading what they’ve written themselves!
2. Nature is your friend. Go on an “Adventure Walk” with your child and collect acorns, leaves, sticks…or whatever your particular neighborhood has to offer. Try this: Your child’s finds can be pinned or glued to a styrofoam or straw wreath for a festive front door decoration. Or the treasures could be displayed in a basket or bowl to serve as a seasonal centerpiece on the dining room table.
3. Don’t forget the kitchen. Cooking is an art, too. Give your child the gift of your time and welcome him (once he’s washed his hands and is wearing an apron) into the kitchen this month to create. Try this: Bake pumpkin bread or pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies together. At our house, my 2 year old son assists with the dry ingredients; my 4 year old gets her turn when it’s time for the wet ingredients. And we all get to sample the batter.
4. Give, give, give! Creating something feels especially worthwhile when it can be shared with someone else. Before starting a craft or cooking project, encourage your child to think of someone who’d like to receive it. Try this: Buy blank cards (or use unlined 5×7 notecards and fold them in half) and help your child make “Happy Fall” cards. Use orange finger paint and stamp thumbprints turned side-ways to create pumpkins. Then use crayons or markers to draw on a stem. When you’re finished, take your child to hand-deliver the card or to the post office to mail it.
5. The wheel has already been invented. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel “crafty.” The point is not to make something your friends will envy but to spend time enjoying your child and the act of creating. Try this: Use the Internet to search for “Fall craft ideas for kids” or ask other mommies for input. School teachers (past and present) are terrific resources, too.
This Fall, find a craft idea that sounds fun and definitely try it at home!
Robin Jubela Kernodle writes from her home in Dallas when (and if) her three children, ages 4, 2, and 4 months are napping. She uses her graduate degree in Teaching English to Speaker of Other Languages when her children are awake. Because, as she occasionally must remind them, she “doesn’t understand whining.” Robin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.