Crafting with Toddlers – Be Flexible.

Crafts don’t always go smoothly, paint and glue are eaten daily and yes tantrums happen, usually him but sometimes me too! I try to roll with it, sometimes we take a break half way through crafts we just walk away and go back when the time is right. Here he kept pulling up the newspaper I had taped down with painters tape and putting the tape in his mouth. Not to mention the green paint everywhere, including up his nose!

I can’t remember what craft he was supposed to be making here but as you can see he wasn’t doing it. Instead he was carefully placing the chalk onto his beloved John Deere tractor. A perfect example of why I try not to do crafts when time is limited.

I have framed this picture for family because it is my son in a nutshell, he celebrates his “exploration” with abandon. He knew I was too far away from him to stop him from pouring the lentils everywhere. He was right. I found lentils in my kitchen for months, usually with my feet. They hurt.

This was a post that never made it up. I was going to do a post about an airplane “Busy Bag” and all the fun things in it to keep him busy. It never got posted, he wouldn’t take it off his head and I gave up.

Does this look like a kid who is having fun? It was probably past time for me to give up and grab our coats.

As you can see we are not perfect, far far from it! I try to keep my expectations appropriate but I mess up , miss the mark and have bad days. Sometimes it’s better to abandon the craft , run outside and come in for a nap.Β  So if a craft tanks, or a pretty art project gets ruined , so what?! Try to follow your child’s interests and know that messes will be made and the goal isn’t a perfect project, it’s an interested and engaged child.

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  1. Tanya says

    Thanks for this posting. So often, I hear people say that blogs are stressing them out or making them feel “inadequate”. I have the same philosophy with my toddler as you do — go with the flow and don’t expect perfection. Glad you are getting that message out, too. Keep up the excellent work. You are an inspiration to many moms out there! πŸ™‚

  2. Melitsa says

    Thanks for posting your outtakes. We know we all have them. Following your child’s cues are so important. They are always learning something just not what we planned… but that’s ok too.

  3. Allie says

    You said it perfectly Melitsa, they are still learning just maybe not what we were expecting them to!

    I’ll try to take more outtake pictures, goodness knows i have enough opportunity!

  4. Andrea says

    I love your realism, I think that’s what every mom wants to hear from each other. Speaking of the lentils.. I used to give mine a giant bowl of dry pasta and beans to play with in the kitchen — Don’t use Ditalini those REALLY hurt your feet too.

  5. Melanie says

    Thanks for posting those! I love the way your crafts are age-appropriate and use things that I have sitting around the house. These pics remind me how I’m still picking up styrofoam packing peanuts from when I let my kiddos play with them on the screened in porch. You’d think I would know by now that they are NOT going to stay in the box! πŸ™‚

  6. Barbara says

    You are so cute!
    THis post is so wonderful because it shows how we are all in this thing together:)
    Keep up the good work…
    I love when you add songs and poems to your posts.
    I have used some in my Kindergarten classroom …the kids love them.

  7. JBSquared says

    I love your “outtakes!” I have attempted to do art projects with my 2 year old twins, and it almost always ends in tears – mine! I do tend to forget that it’s the time spent together that counts, not the pretty picture on the fridge door. I think that I am the one learning here, more than them. But we will definitely keep trying, thanks to your inspiring ideas!

  8. Damselfly says

    Whoa! I am impressed you do so many crafts! My son doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, so I can hardly even get him to play with PlayDough! But what really blows me away is the sight of your son actually sitting on the timeout mat! How do you do it? πŸ™‚

  9. Allie says

    It happens to the best of us ! The other day he was eating the paint and saying “YUM!” and I just walked away. It worked, his audience was gone but I walked away because I was getting so frustrated. He won’t eat food but crayola paint is apparently it’s own food group!

  10. Brea's Mommy says

    It looks like you all have lots of fun with activities. I have been having trouble coming up with activities for my 18 month old. I am grateful for finding your site. I will be subscribing. Thanks so much for participating in Show off your blog Saturday. I loved reading your post and hope that you will join in again tomorrow.

  11. Melodie says

    yes, craft time, I know it well. I do family child care and once a day attempt to do crafts with up to 6 children ranging in ages from 1 1/2 to 4. It’s CRAZY! I’m often quite happy when they show no interest because the ones who *do* make such a mess. It’s a fine balance between being glad they are enjoying themselves and feeling completely overwhelmed by the mess and the ingestion of felt pen ink, paint and glue.

  12. says

    These out takes are great and help me remember it’s the time together that really counts. I’ve had a question I’ve been meaning to ask you… What do you do with all the crafts you all complete? We’ve done quite a few of your crafts, but I don’t really know what to do with them when we’re done ~ where to store, how long to keep them etc. Any suggestions?
    .-= Jackie Lee´s last blog ..Q and A ~ Reader’s Questions Answered =-.

    • admin says

      I recycle most everything! What I do do is take pictures wait for the photo sites like snapfish and winklash to have sales on photo books and make books of his art! It will last and take up way less room.


  1. […] This year we grew a lot of broccoli in our vegetable garden. I was hoping growing it would spark interest in eating it ,the way growing spinach did last year but no. Not at all. Other than offering it up to anyone who wants some, one thing broccoli is great for at our house is painting. Broccoli used as a paintbrush is so much fun, add in a color mixing activity and it’s a huge hit! I am still hopeful that playing with it will lead to a desire to eat it but my daughter was never the one who ate paint, that was my son. […]

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