making it

Rather unusually I’ve spent two sessions with both my kids making things this week.  The experience provoked some reflections on art and craft with pre-school kids.

What made the difference between our enjoyment of the two experiences?   Providing easy to use materials.  Doing open-ended activities where the materials and the children determine the outcome.  Enjoying the process as much as the result.  Having some new and pleasing materials to experiment with.  Not trying to make ‘something’ by following instructions.

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Our successful (second) session was prompted by some ‘washi tape’ that I bought at the weekend – I love the pattern.  I’ve read lots about it so I thought we could have a go together.  We also used white paper, paper squares (you can lick and stick – or use a sponge) and boring old masking tape.  Both kids were engrossed.  We stuck squares, cut tape and stuck it.  They were totally in control, just needing some help with the cutting of the tape.   K was engrossed in carefully cutting and sticking and hole-punching (those are her creations above).

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D found some paper fasteners and asked for a hole punch and went off in another direction.  As he finished each creation, he dashed upstairs to store it in his bedroom before coming back for: ‘more paper please.’   Maybe its just me, but I love the results.  Television was forgotten and so was tea.    If only all crafting could be like this.

Our first session was prompted by D watching Mr Maker.  “We can make a goldfish out of a milk bottle,” he said.  We had the materials – paper plate, empty plastic milk bottle, gloopy glue and orange tissue paper.  The experience of putting it all together was not fun: messy glue, tissue paper, far too much interference and direction from me and in the end an orange bottle that neither child has any interest in.  Lets not do that again. (But if you want to try it, you can see the instructions here: milk bottle fish)

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I started blogging after the birth of my first child. Since I stopped working, I realise I am defined far more by my relationships than by what I do. So, I am: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.

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