Getting Crafty

The other day I told you about watching Finding Nemo with Alpha.  In the end I resolved to stick with shows like Peppa Pig and Play School.  Play School is Alpha’s current obsession, and I can’t say I’m upset.  I love Play School for so many reasons – one of them being that I watched it as a little girl.  It’s a locally-produced show using Australian talent (mostly drawn from Home and Away, it seems).  It’s all focused on early childhood learning – everything is done deliberately.  There’s plenty of singing and dancing, and it’s a great way to discover new books to read.

All of those things are great.  The main thing I love about Play School is that it isn’t perfect.  Sometimes the singing is a little out of time.  Sometimes the costumes they make for themselves out of newspaper fall apart.  It is very obvious to an adult that it is done in close to one take.  I love that.  I’d much rather they focus their time on what they present, rather than how.  Sometimes things get a little weird (like the episode they sang Tom Jones’ “What’s New, Pussycat?”), but I haven’t seen a single episode that I object to.  I’m very much looking forward to the Play School concert that I have tickets to in October.

Another element that is far from perfect is the craft activities they do.  Some days they look like one big Pinterest Fail.  They don’t paint things completely – or they go way outside the lines.  The colours don’t match.  Patterns are out of whack.  Edges are far from straight and some things fall apart almost immediately.

I love it.

Why?  It’s achievable.  I can do that.  Pretty much anyone can do that.

I’m from a ridiculously creative family (seriously, half my family have works in galleries). Me? Not as talented. I’m not totally hapless, but I’m pretty average when it comes to the creative side of things. I watch home improvement shows and read craft magazines and know what I make will never wind up looking the same. So it’s an enormous relief to see the professionals making stuff that I’ve got half a shot of replicating.

I’ve come to realise that craft doesn’t have to be perfect or even complicated to enthral a toddler.

Seriously.

I recently stuck some pom-poms on a cardboard roll. Alpha instantly announced it was his rocket and has been carrying it around proudly for a month.

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The Rocket – clearly my son has an impressive imagination.

After realising this, I’m trying to challenge myself to do more craft at home with the boys. To keep myself accountable, I’m going to try and post about one no-talent-required craft project a week. I can almost guarantee they won’t be perfect. The aim is to keep them uncomplicated and achievable – just like Play School. I hope you enjoy them as much as I intend to.

Here’s today’s craft activity to kick us off.

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Stained Glass Windows

This was fun. I had some contact left over from another project that I’ll post about another day, so I decided to try something new.

To start with, I stuck a piece of contact (adhesive side up) to the window with sticky tape, then pulled the backing off.

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I put some torn up crepe paper, small pom-poms and cut-up coloured paper in a box and gave it to Alpha…

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…and pretty much left him to it.

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He had a blast and it kept him occupied for a good hour. One of the best bits is that it’s pretty much mess-free – everything I gave Alpha to play with would be easy to vacuum.

Glitter Bottles

And now for something completely different…

Today’s Zero to Hero task is to write a post inspired by another blogger. I’ve selected Crumbs Off The Table as my inspiration today.  Most of the posts I’ve read on her blog have fantastic ideas of fun things to do, like this.  I wanted in, so I went looking for something fun to do.

I stumbled upon this fantastic idea – glitter bottles.  I’ve read of people using them as an alternative to doing ‘time outs’ for their kids.  Always keen for new options to help my boys learn to behave, I pretty much leapt on this.

I took Alpha shopping to buy the supplies we needed. Turns out it’s not a brilliant idea to take a toddler with an umbrella into a craft store. We made it out more or less unscathed after Alpha picked the colours he wanted in his bottle (blue glitter glue and purple fine glitter). I also found an appropriate sized bottle. For the record, 16.9 ounces is pretty much 500mL – I really don’t understand the imperial system.

I then decided to wait until the perfect moment to create my Alpha’s glitter bottle. Naturally this turned out to be after 11pm on the last Sunday of the school holidays. Thankfully, there wasn’t too much I could do to get myself in trouble. I’m pretty sure the glitter will wash out of the sink eventually. Check out the link above for the full instructions. I’d only add a couple of hints – rinse the bottle thoroughly after washing with soapy water, and put a piece of paper towel under the bottle while you pour in the glitter.

The results are completely mesmerising. I put the bottle on the window will in front of me while I washed up (I do my best housework after 10pm) and it was so ridiculously calming. I’m not actually sure I want to surrender it to Alpha now.

So there you go. I suspect we’ll need the bottle tomorrow when Daddy is back at work and it’s only me on deck. Would it be weird to say I’m looking forward to my toddler getting in trouble? Is it okay if I put myself in time out so I can watch the glitter bottle?

I have a suspicion I’ll be making a few more of these…