As a stay-at-home mom turned work-at-home mom, it is often times hard for me to not sit on the floor, playing with my kiddos all day, and actually get to work. No matter how well we balance work and play, we moms always have a little guilt hanging around in the back of our minds. I realized quickly that it wasn’t enough to just be in the same room as my children while I worked. Something about that scenario still left me feeling like I was missing out on quality time with them. I needed to find a way to actually interact with them, yet still get through my daily to-do list.
Almost by accident, I stumbled across the solution.
When my son asked if he could help me one day with a project, his “craft bag” was born. My children each now have their own bag, filled with age appropriate tools and supplies. When it’s time to “work”, everyone (including mommy) gathers their bags,. We sit together at the table and create. It is magical. We talk, laugh, sing, eat snacks, and show-and-tell what we’ve made. This time together is everyone’s favorite part of the day. I feel much less stressed because I’ve gotten all the work done that I needed to, making me a much happier mommy, and the kiddos have gotten the attention they need, making them much happier children. Who knows…maybe I’m even passing on a little bit of my creative spirit to them along the way.
Here is a list of super simple supplies that you may want to throw into your child’s craft bag. Keep in mind, some are more suitable for older kiddos.
Paper – We all have them…the little bits of your favorite papers that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away. The tiny pieces you have stashed in a drawer or a box. You keep telling yourself that you will pull from there for your next project, but then you’re walking the aisles of your favorite craft store and find “the perfect!” paper, and quickly forget about that growing stash in your craft room. When was the last time you really did pull from that stash? This is the paper I’m talking about.
Punches – I tend to favor punches in my little guys craft bag over scissors, and he really doesn’t like to use the kid-friendly scissors because he is a “big boy” now. I found a few punches for him on the clearance rack at my local craft store and he loves them. Smaller punches are better for little hands, and less expensive. Some little ones have trouble squeezing punches because they just don’t have the necessary strength in their fingers. In that case, you may want to get a little larger punch that allows them to press down with the palm of their hand.
Adhesive runner – This is a big one! Remember, the point of this is to make your life easier, so when your kids ask for glue, the answer is a resounding “NO!” Instead, spend a little extra money (these are cheaper if bought in bulk) on adhesive runners . They are much, much easier for your little ones to use, and no mess!
SCRAPS! – Are you familiar with the saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” That couldn’t be more true for children. All the little leftovers from my projects go in the craft bags. From embellishments, to fabric, to ribbon…you get the idea. When your children see that they are using the same supplies as you, the idea of “helping mom” makes them even more excited to create alongside you.
Stamps/washable ink – Stamps are a favorite of my three and a half year old son, but be warned: It is absolutely worth the extra money and time to hunt down washable ink pads. You’ll thank me later!
Stickers – Stickers are surprisingly probably the most expensive thing I put in my children’s craft bags. In fact, they can be so pricey (and so short-lived since they are a one and done kind of thing) that I save them for special occasions. If I spot a favorite character of my son’s, or I see some that are appropriate for a holiday or event we have coming up, I grab them and stash them away for a “special surprise”.
Nikki McGonigal is the crafter/writer behind Nikki, In Stitches . She designs, creates, and provides instructions for craft projects from all mediums; from knitting and sewing, to cardmaking and home decor, and everything in between. She sell kits to go along with many of her projects, and just started selling patterns for her original designs. She has just opened her Etsy shop where she sells a few finished products.