I don't know about you but I am completely fed up with this persistent rain we are experiencing; when will it stop!! There is only so much jumping in (muddy) puddles you can do with a toddler in full head-to-toe waterproofs/wet weather gear - although sometimes it is also done without said waterproof clothes. Currently our nearest playground resembles a thick, sticky bog; and it may be fun for my son as he dives head-first into the biggest, stickiest and muddiest puddle he can find, but it’s certainly not for me. Specifically as I am the one who has to drag home what I can only describe as a 'Marsh Monster'. I often think he has seen a new Children's Book and is trying to emulate one of the messier characters. This messiness and obsession with puddles could be seen as endearing but on the whole, it's not, as it is means that the Marsh Monster (aka my son) spends most of the walk home, kicking and screaming for 'one more jump' through the boggy mush of the playground.
On one such occasion home with Marsh Monster in-tow, I remember thinking how much I loved any kind of craft activity when I was a child. I particularly remember the ones I used to have when I went over to my cousins. My aunt was an artist and therefore always had lots of fantastic arty bits and bobs about the place, along with some sort of great crafting project planned for my stay. I would sit at the little rickety table in the kitchen with my cousin, both waiting with batted breath for my aunt to bring down this old wooden box brimming with everything a little girl could wish for a creative extravaganza . My heart would be pounding away as I thought about the sparkly content of this treasure chest and what lay ahead – glue, glitter, sequins and lots of fun. What is it about little girls and anything shiny? My little nieces are just the same, anything shiny and they are drawn straight to it like a frenzied magpie to a milk bottle top.
With more rain forecast last weekend, I decided to give crafting a shot and enjoy an afternoon with my son; and to be honest, choosing between another muddy puddles and/or Peppa Pig session was more than I could bear. Whilst I was planning the crafting activities, I had visions of my son stood in front of me, covered from head to toe in glitter and sequins, resembling something closer to a Christmas tree with baubles than a toddler. But I put these, along with the knowledge of the colossal 'Operation Tidy-Up' to the back of my mind, and we went ahead.
First thing we needed was some supplies. And these are my thoughts on the Survival Kit for any good home crafter – glue, paper, scissors, stickers and of course not forgetting the obligatory ‘glitter’. So off we trotted to our nearest craft shop.
Ninety minutes later, laden down with enough craft bits and bobs including paper, pompoms, stickers, glue, glitter glue (you get my drift!), we could have open up our own craft shop, but instead we arrived back home. I think I was more excited than my son at this point - I could definitely hear the glitter glue pen faintly calling my name from inside the packet. With the dining room table suitably protected by a disposable paper tablecloth and the content of each packet laid out before us, we began.
Now I have to admit, after 30 years or so, my creative flare is not what it used to be, but after a few tries of ‘sticking’ this and ‘gluing’ that I found my flow. My son, however, just wanted to cover everything in stickers. Two paper plates later I decided to pry the sticker-sheets from his little hand, which by now were also covered in stickers and suggested to him we made something for his father, who was upstairs in his office working (or perhaps his nibs was just actually playing another computer game)!
We started by selecting the right coloured paper plate (heaven forbid if we'd got that selection/suggestion wrong) for our 'Plate Face' and then began sticking some shreds of colour paper on the top of a plate. So far so good. Next the eyes went on; not immediately but eventually after I had managed to persuade him to stick them on the plate rather than the chair. Finally, mouth and eyebrows - yippee another chance for me to employ the glitter glue pen ... I know, I know but old habits die hard. My son seemed to feel that the face we had created was far from finished and proceeded to embellish it a bit more with a number of pompoms and felt shapes. After a resounding 'Tah-Dah Mama', I looked across the table at our 'Plate Face' that was now fairly garishly festooned. Of course, the words gushing from my lips were 'well done, fantastic job', when deep down inside, all I wanted to do was pull off the pompoms and felt shapes and return the Plate Face to its former glitter glory.
Creativity finished and with his stomach calling him, my son disappeared off to the kitchen to check out what his father was cooking for dinner and of course I was left with the onerous Operation Tidy-Up. What a great purchase the disposable tablecloth turned out to be, all I needed to do was put unused bits in a box and roll up the table cloth with all the paper cuttings etc and place it in the recycling bag – job done!
With Operation Tidy-Up completed, it was time for a well-earned cuppa and a gentle pat on the back for finding an equally enthralling activity to puddle jumping but with a slightly less messy outcome during another wet afternoon.
If you fancy being whisked back to childhood days of glitter, glue and all things nice, why don’t you have a go at one or more of the more unusual projects I have found, I am already planning my next Crafting Date!
Why not try making paper with the kids or perhaps making your own snow. I am eager to make Candy Cane Play-Doh, although I'm wondering if I'd actually mistake it for the real thing and eat it?!
If you're not keen on dealing with Operation Tidy-Up, then perhaps try the Japanese art form of Suminagashi (marble painting) which combines water, inks and absorbent materials such as paper, clothe and wood.
Now that I've reignited my love of crafting, I seem to have an insatiable appetite for reviewing websites for more inspiration, I personally like Hobbycraft, Enchanted Learning and The Crafty Crow to name a few.