We went to Grandma and Pots’ house for Thanksgiving dinner—no, that isn’t a typo; and, yes, there is a story behind the name. I bought some holiday-themed crafts to keep the cousins occupied after we ate. I soon discovered that these 40 percent off bargains were more aggravating than cleaning egg out of the grooves of my son’s Skechers.
I’ll start with Craft Box 1: the kids were unanimous in digging into this project first since they’d be decorating a jingle bell with a snowman face and top hat. The other option was a Santa suit equipped with a fabulous gold buckle. I envisioned attaching these cuties to teacher gifts and maybe hanging one in Grandma’s window before we left for the night. I soon discovered I made a mistake buying Elmer’s glue. The felt pieces stuck alright…to me.
Apparently tacky glue was the better bet—this from my eight-year-old niece as she reached for a circular disk to complete her hat. Tot’s craft (we have a Pots and a Tot in our family) turned out the best. However, by the time she was ready to assemble Santa, we had an assembly line of cries and tears, and misplaced googly eyes.
I moved onto Craft Box 2 to distract everyone—did I mention I bought three of these things? This time we would make reindeer and angel heads (because you always think of these icons as a set, right?). We were instructed—by the box photo, no directions required—to roll a pipe cleaner into a flat pancake and jam a cake pop stick into one end. Well, apparently glue sticks to fuzzy pipe cleaners as well as it does to metallic balls. More tears. More cries of anguish. The kids reached for the third box. “Enough!” I said. Then I packed up my leftovers to return to the store where the post-Thanksgiving sale would be even more substantial.
Now that it’s mid-December, craft kits are everywhere—even in the grocery stores. My kids are begging to make a gingerbread house. I reminded them of the last time we attempted this feat when the candy houses collapsed faster than in an F5 tornado. Still…. they persist in asking.
Deep down I know doing arts and crafts with my kids is a worthwhile investment. I get to know them a little better as I watch them explore and create. I’m amazed at the way they problem solve and improvise when the directions don’t pan out, which is pretty much always in our case. Plus, it makes me smile when they work as a team—it often takes more than one pair of hands to assemble a Styrofoam penguin. They’re proud of their creations, and I’m proud of them for hanging in there when we create a flop. As my daughter’s art teacher says, “When we mess it up, we dress it up.” So maybe we will snag one of those kits in the checkout lane after all. How about you?
I’d love to hear about your kid craft projects gone wrong or right. In the meantime, here are a few websites to get your creativity flowing: Crafts for Toddlers, Spoonful.com, and Christmas-specific crafts.