I'm a huge fan of crafts. Doing a craft with your child is a bonding experience. It's quality time in a low-pressure environment and it boosts a child's self-confidence. It helps build a positive self-image, encourages imagination and self-discipline, rewards hard work and diligence. Crafting promotes spatial development, sense of color, and hand-eye coordination. Seriously, if you take the time to make a craft with your child, you can give yourself a big "I'm a Rockstar" pat on the back.
What kind of toy can do all that? My kids will be receiving a bunch of commercial toys from Santa, I won't even try to deny it. Commercial toys are super fun and they can be very educational. But there is definitely something to be said for the immense benefits of crafting.
My kids have their own craft cabinet. I'm totally proud of it. I keep it supplied with lots of inexpensive craft supplies. It contains different colored blank paper, scrap paper and other leftovers from my scrap booking endeavors, stickers, stamps, glue sticks, liquid glue, sequins, and crayons. I keep the markers and kid-scissors in a separate location because I'm not a complete idiot. Maybe your kids can handle free range markers and scissors, but I'm not taking any chances.
My kids also have coloring books, but they rarely bring them out. That's not to say that I'm one of those "Kids shouldn't have coloring books because it limits their creativity" kind of people. I remember loving coloring books when I was little. There is something very soothing about coloring inside the lines. Peyton, who is now in preschool, does an excellent job coloring inside the lines and it makes me super proud. Judge me if you want, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.
Having their own craft cabinet allows kids the freedom of whipping up a craft whenever they feel like it. Here's a story for you. We went to see Santa the other night. Right before we left, Ella decided she wanted to draw him a happy face. So sweetie girl goes over to the craft cabinet and gets out the necessary supplies. Does it get any cuter? Nope. Here's Ella telling 19-year-old Santa that she wants a butterfly for Christmas. This is important because she spent the majority of the day telling us that she was scared of Santa and didn't want to see him. I totally believed it because last year she wouldn't even look at Santa. But once she had the picture to give him, she wasn't scared and actually engaged him in a conversation about how butterflies flap their wings.
So yeah, I am going to go ahead and call it: The Craft Cabinet That Saved Christmas.
Also, I just love listening to the peace and quiet of my children working on crafts all by themselves. And if one of them just happens to present me with one of her works of art because she just loves me so much, well, that's an added bonus.
You know when your kid has had one of those crazy bad days and you seriously can't wait to put him to bed? And then you go in after he falls asleep and he is just a perfect little angel? To me, crafting is like that. If you are focused on doing the craft with your child (not multi-tasking), everything else can melt away. So yeah, I have an ulterior motive: when my kids craft, it helps me keep my sanity.
Anyway... On To the Crafting!
Super Cool Gift Idea:
Put together some craft supplies in a cool box and give it to your child for Christmas. Even better, put everything together for a specific craft. I sell craft kits for kids in my Etsy store, feel free to steal my ideas there. If you want to save yourself some time, buy a craft kit, there are a zillion different kinds out there. Mine are the best, of course, but do what you need to do. If you have the time and the energy (show-off!), you can make one yourself. Here's an example of a craft kit you can put together:
CHRISTMAS MOUSE CRAFT KIT
You'll need some SUPPLIES:
Small Black Pompoms
Black Embroidery Floss
Here's how you can
MAKE YOUR CHRISTMAS MOUSE:
MAKE YOUR MOUSE
Cut out the mouse body and ears from the template paper. Cutting out the templates is great scissor practice for young crafters. Use the paper templates to cut out a body and ears
from felt. Cut the two slits on the body by folding the nose toward the middle of the body until the slit marks are folded in half. Then you can easily make little snips with your scissors along the marks.
Slip the ear piece through the two slits on the body.
DECORATE YOUR MOUSE
Eyes: Use the craft glue to attach the wiggly eyes.
Nose: You can use a sequin or a pompom for a nose or you can leave your mouse plain. If you would like to add whiskers, cut a small length of the black satin floss. It will fray as soon as you cut it - perfect for whiskers! Spread a little craft glue on the end of the mouse nose. Lay down the whiskers on the glue and press a pompom nose on top.
Bling!: Use craft glue to attach sequins to your mouse if you would like some extra sparkle. If you a working with a younger crafter, place some glue spots on the mouse. Then you can let your child place the sequins.
Tail: Spread a generous amount of craft glue on half of the chenille stem tail.
Attach the tail to the underside of your mouse. Curl your mouse's tail a little so that you can hang your mouse.