Give Crappy Crafts a Chance

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Our shining star. (Name and happy face compliments of mom.)

If there’s a part of my stereotypical “at-home mom” job I’m failing, it’s the not-so-fine art of crafts (or “crappy crafts” as affectionately called by a friend of mine). You know the kind, cheap, chintzy and usually adorned with some kind of edible item (macaroni noodles, beans, o-shaped cereal).

There are three reasons why I’ve hardly pursued crafty activities since I’ve been home with my girls for the past eight weeks.

1. It seems like such a waste. You use up all of the glue, paper, stickers, etc., and then end up throwing it in the trash after the refrigerator magnets will no longer hold up the weight. I am cheap. I don’t like throwing things away. (Ask my husband, he calls it “hoarding.” Whatever.)

2.  I don’t have the “goods” handy. If there was one thing nobody prepared me for when I made the decision to stay home with my girls, it was the amount of “stuff” I would need to keep on hand to complete many of the kids’ craft ideas you’ll find online. A good friend recommended lots of “chocolate and laundry detergent” (boy, was she right) but nobody mentioned “glue and popsicle sticks.”

3. I want to hijack the project. I’m not proud of this, but I have a tendency to “step in” a little more than necessary when my daughter is working on a project. I’m not sure if it’s my inner child trying to escape, or if I have control issues, but I want the craft to look a certain way. I was a perfectionist about art projects growing up, and I have to fight those demons. Once, after spending nearly half an hour meticulously coloring a page from my daughter’s Handy Manny coloring book (shading and textures, the whole bit), I was genuinely sad when my daughter reached over and scribbled on Mrs. Portillo’s face. I have issues.

So, when I enrolled my daughter in the summer reading program at our local library, I was a bit apprehensive about completing the first “project.” When I came across this Pinterest board with enrichment projects, my anxiety really kicked in. Would I have the supplies to complete the project? (We’re talking glue here, people, nothing major.) Would I remember when she needed to turn it in? Would I take over like some power-hungry kindergartner with art supply control issues?

Today, I found out. I sat down with my daughter, pulled out the “shooting star” instructions, and we did a craft, together. And you know what? It was fun. Even though I was right to be concerned about my lack of supplies (no glue, we used tape), I was wrong about my inability to take over and I even felt a surge of pride when she held it up and said, “That’s the most beautiful star I ever did see.”

Not only did I engage in conversation with my daughter for 20+ minutes, but I learned some new things about her. While sorting her glitter into similar shapes (she’s a bit OCD) she opened up and told me, “I don’t like it when you rock baby sister, because I want you to do to things with me instead.” Although this should have come as no surprise, I was a bit taken aback that she was able to express these emotions.

She also revealed that sorting glitter was “relaxing.” And I suppose if that’s all it takes to relax a three-year-old, then that’s reason enough to give “crappy crafts” a chance.

P.S. Here’s a blog I’ve come across recently that has some manageable, meaningful craft projects: Share and Remember

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