Hands up if you are one of those Mums who worries about the amount of time your kids spend glued to screens? Whether it’s a laptop, tablet or mobile phone, it seems children are whiling away a lot of their childhoods on digital devices. Sometimes, wouldn’t it be nice to turn the clock back a little and engage in more inclusive, sociable activities with our children?
Drum roll please for……crafting. Yes, you can re-engage with your kids by getting them interested in new hobbies such as crafting. What’s brilliant about crafting is the huge range and choice of areas you can get involved in. This means that whatever the age of your kids, there will be something appropriate to get stuck into.
Here are a few ground rules for tempting them away from the digital world into the real (and equally creative, stimulating and fun) world.
Don’t Force It
Whatever you do, don’t force kids to take part in a craft activity. This is the best way of completely turning them off the idea. If you sense reluctance, just get on with the crafting yourself anyway and let them look, touch and investigate as and when they like. Once they see the amazing results possible, they will find it hard to resist having a go.
It’s a good idea to offer a range of activities as kids’ tastes, abilities and ideas vary enormously. Go to a craft supplier such as handyhippo.co.uk for a wide range of crafting materials to fire their imaginations. Handyhippo.co.uk supplies all you need for crafting projects for all ages ranging from papier mache, beads, card making, clay modelling, decoupage, picture frames, wooden boxes and other containers for custom decorating – if you’ve got the ideas, they’ve got the materials to help you realise them.
Projects for Young Ones
Children under five really benefit from the educational building blocks laid down early by craft projects. The exploration, problem solving skills and experimentation involved will be useful as they develop. Crafts are a fun and absorbing way for children to improve their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It is also an effective way of introducing colours, counting, shapes, alphabet and other core skills in a relaxed environment. As an early introduction to learning, crafting is a fun and stimulating way of boosting children’s self esteem, developing higher thinking skills and gaining positive emotional responses from the learning process – all good stuff to be taking with them on their educational journey. Essentially, crafting is fun for children and if you take a relaxed and cheerful approach, they will not view it as an educational lesson but an inspirational interlude.
Older children will enjoy making crafts that they can use. Items they can decorate their room with such as picture frames, lamp shades, jewellery boxes and mobiles are enduringly popular. Wearable items such as jewellery, accessories and clothing are also well received and can sometimes trigger a life long love of hand sewing and crafts. Making something for themselves that can be used is something that gives children confidence and opens their eyes up to wider creative possibilities.
To catch the interest of children initially, it helps if you can target a craft project in a way that means something to them. For example, creating their own personalised birthday invitations to send out to friends is a project they will be happy to invest time and thought into. Fathers and mothers day gifts, Easter themed items, significant birthdays, wedding anniversaries – there are many events that can be celebrated and brightened by crafty ideas.
If you are new to the wonderful world of crafting, take time to acquaint yourself with the wealth of choice out there. It is easy to get seduced by some of the fabulous pieces crafted by experts. For beginners, it’s best to start out with simple projects that guarantee success – nothing is more demotivating for child and parent than a crafting disaster. The secret is to start simple and gradually gain confidence and skills as you go. Depending on what you are doing, it will take time to conquer some techniques and using unfamiliar tools and materials can be a challenge, but it is all part of the learning curve.
Why not banish the demon digital devices from your home for the day? Invest in some craft materials, clear your diary and the kitchen table and launch into a creative craft project with your children. Whether it’s bonding over the beading, giggling over the glitter and glue or glowing with pride over your unique creations, a day spent crafting with the kids has got to be one of the simplest and best pleasures in life…