Out of nowhere, B has suddenly taken an interest in craft. He's had colouring pencils and paper lurking on the little table in his bedroom for months, which every so often, we'd got out to try and encourage him to use but to no avail. He'd scribble for about three seconds and then move on to something else. Until about a fortnight ago when colouring (or 'coolerin' as he says) suddenly became one of his favourite things. Now the pencils and the felt tips are brought out on a daily basis. He loves to make dots and squiggles, and points to all the different colours wanting us to name them for him (he says everything is blue when we ask him).
In order to capitalise on B's new found love of art, I've been coming up with lots of crafty activities for us to do together, especially on rainy days. I find my patience runs out pretty quickly with lego and train set construction, and yet I can mould a bit of play doh for ages. So it's a way to keep me entertained too! And as I'm always so inspired by other peoples blogs and Instagram feeds (my friend Mrs Carkeek is especially good at dreaming up craft activities) I thought I'd share the gluey, painty messes we come up with in the Biddle household. So welcome to my new series: Crafternoons.
Before the series starts properly, I thought I'd share my recommendations of craft materials to have stashed away at home, ready for a sudden art attack with a toddler. (I know this is probably a really obvious list but hey ho I'll carry on anyway). I got most of my materials here in the UK from the supermarket, The Works and Poundland, with the odd thing from Rymans too.
- Multi-coloured card
- Multi-coloured tissue paper
- Stickers - stars and spots are hugely useful. For toddlers, get the biggest ones you can find as small ones are tricky for their little hands to cope with
- Poster Paints - I bought the primary colours red, blue and yellow, as well as some white, figuring I could then mix up colours as and when they are required (I wouldn't bother with the specialised finger paints - they are rubbish, watery, and my toddler at least doesn't seem to enjoy getting his hands dirty so they are a waste of money)
- PVA glue
- Colouring Pencils / Felt Tips / Crayons (we love the chunky Crayola Beginnings ones)
- Chunky Paint Brushes
- Non-spill paint pots (and we've been using recycled pots and jam jars too)
- Shakeable glitter
- Pipe cleaners / straws / pom poms / goggly eyes / big sequins / lolly pop sticks, etc. All the things they sell in little clear plastic bags for about 50p a pop.
- Useful recyclable materials like toilet roll insides, yoghurt pots and small cardboard boxes
- Play Doh. Again, don't both with the baby friendly stuff - it's too chalky to be of any use. And I know I could make some myself by following a pinterest tutorial but quite frankly I can't be bothered and love the smell of the shop bought stuff!
- Spray Mount - not for them to use, but for you to use in preparation. It's a great thing to have around the house
- Brown and white paper
- Child friendly scissors (for when they are a little older)
- Sticky Fixers. Completely stealing this idea from Mrs Carkeek, they are a great way to stick things like goggly eyes to wooden spoons as they're more hardcore in glueyness than pva.
- An old piece of vinyl tablecloth for crafting on top of. Of course you could use sheets of newspaper but we've found that the tablecloth isn't absorbent and all the paint wipes away in an instant.
- An apron. We're using one of those with long sleeves like putting a jacket on backwards left over from weaning and early eating.
The two things we've discovered we really need to work on in ourselves are patience to let him do it himself, even if it isn't as neat as we might have liked, and staying sanguine when there's mess as it all cleans up in the end. Although the early signals are that B's as concerned about tidiness as his parents!