The Benefits of Slow Crafts with Children

Tom has just decided that he is interested in the world of craft, cooking and painting.

It is the best.

Honestly, with the development of his speech coinciding with this wonderful discovery of all things hands-on, I’ve taken the opportunity to use one to help the other.

The best way I’ve found to do this is to use what’s around us and his favourite things to develop his vocabulary, speech and to HAVE FUN!

With Christmas all around and Tom’s favourite words being star, bird and car, we delved into crafting, painting and making these things. The key to it though is that we did it slowly.

The effect of this I found, is that by coming back to an activity, we were reinforcing his new words and he was excited to see the things he worked for come together. It also meant there was a lot less input from me to ‘finish’ the activity for him or to speed him up in any way. Because really, most toddler’s concentration spans is not very long, so there’s no point trying to force a whole bunch of work into a craft or activity, just to see the end result. It was much more effective and useful to have the space set up, and to go back to it each day to continue, or add on to an activity.

It also meant that I didn’t have to come up with new things to do, new materials each day etc! It was all there and I only needed to say the word ‘painting’ and the little man was at the table ready to go. When he was finished he said “See ya” to his activity and went off to wash his hands. I was so proud of the fact that we had developed this fabulous routine.

Here are some of the activities we indulged in this week:

** Christmas Bunting**

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Everyday for a few days we painted a different Christmas themed object. Only one object per day. The ritual became that we talked about what we were painting, left them to dry and then looked at them the next day before we started our next object. These are cardboard and I picked them up from Riot Art and Craft. You could easily make your own though!

When we had a nice collection we used them for a threading activity and made some bunting.

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By having them on display, Tom can go back and refer to them and point to them, which he often does! It’s sitting on the wall near our dining table so he often looks over as we are eating, points and says “Ball, star, bell!” he hasn’t quite mastered “candy cane” yet! 😉

**Star and Bird Cookies**

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It just so happens that these are two of Tom’s favourite new words and I found them in cookie cutter form in the pantry. I thought a break from painting might be nice and we delved into some baking! I used this very basic recipe and away we went.

On one day we made the biscuits. Tom played with the dough and the cutters and while he did that with ‘his’ dough I worked on making the rest of the biscuits, chatting away as we went. He lost interest and I continued on, making plenty (I doubled the recipe so had twice the dough)

The next day I whipped up some icing and we talked about the colour yellow and of course re-visited our birds and stars which he was very excited about, especially now that he had tasted them!

I lay out some baking paper and a spatula for him and some biscuits. I modeled it for him a couple of times but then just let him play and eat, all the while talking to him about what we were doing. While he did that I iced and decorated the rest. I also gave him some sparkly sprinkles, and making patterns in the baking paper soon became a game after his biscuits were all decorated (and gone!)

We have had such an awesome time. Not only has he enjoyed it, but I, too, have felt at my most relaxed during these times. It forces me to get off my feet, which is getting to be pretty important for me these days at 30 weeks pregnant. It also allows us to just bond in peace, without distractions and I love watching his little mind make all the connections. Tom refuses to craft at Playgroup or Mother Goose sessions, he is just too busy running around! So these are our quiet times and I’m loving it.

I’ll keep sharing our Christmas ideas through Facebook and Instagram so come and join us if you haven’t already!

Do you ‘slow craft’ with your little ones or is this something you might like to try?

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