Process NOT Product

by Kim

Allie did a wonderful post about play being a child’s job. That post hit it right on the head. Play is their job. I get asked a lot of questions about crafts from moms. Most of them come down to things like how often and how structured should a craft be for a young child?

If there is an activity and you want them to learn certain rules or concepts, then you should gently guide them. But unless the craft is something you are planning on entering into a competition try not to lead them every time. Are their crafts that you should? Yeah, I am pretty sure there are some you want a specific goal, like a Mother’s Day present for Grandma.

As caretakers we need to make an effort to step back every once in a while. Deliberately do an occasional craft with your child that is completely open. I mean completely.

Set out a work space filled with craft items, recycled items, and tools that you feel comfortable with your child using by themselves.

Introduce them to the work space and let them have at it!

I find myself struggling to not say, “Wouldn’t it look cool of we put this here?” or “How about making this look like this?” I find it better to just step away from the table all together.

I am usually pretty close, like in our kitchen when they are in the dining room. It is fun to listen to them talk about things as they are creating. I know that I am close enough to step in if needed or for an emergency.

Your children will love doing this. They will also love telling you all about their creations. Let’s face it, some need explanation.

This one was a gift from my son. It’s a camera. I can totally see it, too. I would not have thought to make one out of a tissue box and toilet paper roll, but a 4 year old does think of things like that.

It is great when you take time out to make sure that the process is emphasized more than the product sometimes. 🙂


Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.
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  1. says

    Maybe that’s what we are missing – the non-structure component of playing. I remember being told, “to go outside and play.” Now children, and parents, ask, “What do I do out there?” Play is how we learn how to do so many things. I doubt my children (some 40 years ago) were the first to discover music via a pot and wooden spoon or Gravity when you put too much weight on a branch. IMHO, have craft ideas on hand but don’t dole them out like a classroom exercise. Well that’s my two cents .

    • admin says

      Well said Suzi! It is my number one concern when I write this blog that being a resource is just that, we are here when you need us but none of our writers sit down and do crafts daily with our kids, we play and create but young kids need a balance of a little structure and lots of free play in everything including art .

  2. says

    I love your blog and this post in particular. I totally see myself trying to intervene with the kids work instead of leaving them to their own creation because “I” think it’s better my way. Thanks for the wake up call 🙂

    I reposted this entry this morning (with link of course) without realizing it violated your copyright. Very sorry about that. I fixed it right away but never had the chance to reply back until now.

    thanks for such a great blog and authors!


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