Learn how Stacey Welsh, blogger and mother of five, uses craft to her advantage to make sure she has free time away from the kids to catch-up on life’s other jobs during school holidays.
The winter holidays: craft season
It’s winter season here in New Zealand and, for me, it means time to start preparing craft sessions for the kids. During the warmer months, the kids will mostly be playing outside. But it can get ridiculously cold in winter and you need something to keep the kids occupied.
Because of this, these upcoming school holidays are the perfect time to get creative and stay occupied (out of mischief!) with crafts.
Why we love craft
Giving the kids a range of materials, ideas, and inspiration is the perfect way to keep them occupied and engaged for enough time for me to get other things in life done. Thankfully, they absolutely love anything at all to do with craft.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned with my fives kids is making sure you have the right activity. Make it age-appropriate and incorporate any existing interests your kids already have.
My three-year-old Archie is into concrete in a big way at the moment. He’s always playing with his toy concrete mixer and mixing his ‘concrete’.
Now, obviously we can’t make real concrete. It would be a bit of a shambles with the kids and who knows what they would end up doing!
The classic kids concrete is a mixture of sand and water, but Archie loves it when we brighten it up a bit. I’ve found that drying out the sand and adding dyes of different colours gives a brand new dynamic to his concrete play time. Especially when he helps to make it.
Once the sand is dried out and the dye added, Archie simply mixes it with water and he’s off making different coloured structures all over the place. That’s his “thing” and he loves it at the moment.
Easy clean-up slime
Chloe (11) and Lukas (10) are into more older-kids things. But they are no exception to the the big craft craze at the moment: slime!
Every kid is into slime at the moment, it’s the trend that just won’t go away. My two even use their 30 minutes of ‘technology time’ each evening to try and discover new slime recipes.
The issue with slime is the mess. It really is my most dreaded craft activity. But they love it, and they have tried every recipe: shaving cream, conditioner, glue – you name it and they’ve made it.
Unfortunately, most of these end up with a big workload at the end. Not long ago I tried to put it away, but the kids managed to keep some, so Chloe ended up putting it all over the duvet, the carpet, the furniture – it was suuuuuch a mess.
Thankfully, there is something to lower the damage and keep the kids happy. My big ‘mum hack’ when making slime is to use cornflour as the base ingredient. You can make variations using sand and all kinds of stuff. As long as it’s cornflour, it’s easy to clean up when it’s wet and even when it has dried up. Cornflour slime is the way to go!
Paper, cardboard, drawing and imagination
The other big tip is pretty simple. With a pile of plain white A4 sheets of paper and armed with their imagination: you don’t need a lot of fancy craft equipment for the kids to have a great time.
Drawing, cutting, pasting and creating is fun – no matter what their ages.
For Lukas, he collects Pokémon cards, so he’s very into drawing different Pokémon and making up his own set. The kids love drawing anything and there’s hundreds of simple YouTube videos you can search and watch that teaches the kids (and mum) how to draw anything step-by-step.
A highlight of mine was when the kids were delighted by all these little collectible toys that were going around at the time. They literally built a house from scratch out of cardboard: even all the furniture and everything. Glued it all together out of boxes and spare recyclables we had around the house. It kept them entertained for three days straight.
The best thing about craft is that it is only limited by the imagination of you and your kids, so it’s boundless! Basic materials and some spare time are all it takes for the kids to have an engaged few hours with little supervision needed.