“Mom, can I go on the iPad?”
It’s the the 2nd most common phrase I hear all summer, right after “Mom, can I have a snack?”
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard one of my three kids ask those two question, I could buy Apple, design the iMom to rotate those two answers, and retire to the Hamptons.
It’s around this time of the summer when I either…
- Go off the deep end, remove electronic limitations and guiltily ignore the dusty math books and works of literature sitting on the bookshelves.
- Go off the deep end, lock all electronic devices in a cabinet, and declare martial law.
Either way, the summer quickly goes downhill.
This year, though, I’m doing something different. I’m going to avoid the deep end and stay in the shallows. I’m experimenting with this new fangled thing called moderation (have you heard of it?), using my new best friend, Ann Williams and her summer crafts collection to do it.
A New Way of Doing
Summer Crafts with Your Kids
Firstly, you may remember in my infamous Confessions of an Introverted Mom how I describe doing crafts with my kids:
- Choosing the craft gives me a Pinterest headache.
- I never have the right tools, and there’s no way I’m packing up all the girls to head Hobby Lobby just for googly eyes and wood glue.
- Because I refuse to head to HL, I’m forced to try to improvise. (I’m a TERRIBLE improvisor).
- This then leads to my own pretty impressive Pinterest epic fails.
It’s a slippery slope, and we all end up squabbling at the bottom of the hill. Here’s the thing, though: crafting is something that is actually really good for your kids, if done correctly. (We’ll get to the “done correctly” part in a second…)
Why Summer Crafts are Actually Important for Kids
Despite crafting hesitancy, there are actually some really good reasons to balance the electronics with some good ole-fashioned hands-and-fingers craft projects:
- It allows kids to practice their fine motor skills, which improves their dexterity and can improve handwriting and typing skills later in life.
- Some craft kids, like the Inventor’s Box, are specifically designed to sneakily help kids enhance their STEM skills: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. All are foundational skills in a tech-heavy world.
- Crafting allows kids to experiment with coordinating colors…without leaving the house.
- You can give these summer crafts away as acts of kindness! The Craftastic Kindness Kit is a collection of projects designed with that in mind. Let your kids spend an afternoon being creative, and then give them away to friends, neighbors, or grandparents to cherish!
- Research shows that crafting with your kids can help you reap lifelong benefits.
There are zillions of other reasons crafting can be a good parenting tool, from teaching perseverance to building self esteem. So, despite my hesitancy, I’m ready to set my introversions and annoyances aside, launch myself into the world of summer crafts, and have some fun with my kids.
Where do I start? PAH-LEESE don’t say Pinterest. Sister, I’ve googled down that path before and do you know what it leads to? A new impressive board called “Arts and Crafts,” two hours gone, and a sudden self-esteem struggle.
Nope. We need something better than Pinterest.
5 Summer Craft Activities
Perfect for This Moment
Remember earlier when I said “done correctly?”
Well, to me “done correctly” means EASY. Here’s my definition of EASY:
- I want options…but not too many options so I get frozen like a deer in headlights.
- I want to have everything I need in one spot. No searching for glue…finding usable scissors…locating markers that have somehow, miraculously, been put away with the caps on.
- I want to have instructions that have a LOT of pictures, so I can tell right away that I need to read Step Three again before the glue dries. (If the photos don’t make sense, Ann Williams also has video tutorials on their website.)
- I want to have a variety of summer crafts options, so Bella (7) doesn’t throw a fit that her craft doesn’t look as good as Lauren’s (14). No comparisons…no fussing. You can let your toddler paint pet rocks, your daughter can make a bunny necklace, and you can create these gorgeous paper bowls.
A Little Summer Craft Inspiration
Ann Williams packages groups of craft projects together, in theme-boxes that my kids have found hopelessly addicting. (We picked up The Wishing Kit, and it was really neat to read the “Wishes” my girls came up with!)
5 Perfect Summer Craft Collections
- I ♥ Fairies Kit(ages 5-7)
- The Tinkering Kit(ages 5-7)
- The Loop de Doo Spinning Loom(ages 8-10)
- The Artist’s Box(ages 8-10)
- I ♥ Animals Kit(ages 5-7)
4 Reasons Why a Monthly Craft
Subscription Makes Sense
Besides these stand-alone summer craft projects, Ann Williams also has a really cool (and affordable) monthly craft subscription. I think that option can make a lot of sense for moms like me, who want to build those memories with their kids, but need it handed over on a silver platter of creativity.
- It’s an insurance policy to make sure that at least one Saturday morning a month you’re creating memories together at the kitchen table.
- No two months are the same, so opening that month’s box is guaranteed to be an OMGOODNESS surprise.
- Need some hefty kid-motivation to get those Saturday morning chores finished before Sunday evening? Let craft time be a satisfying reward!
- Your craft boxes are between $30- $50 each, for $24.95 or less every month. That’s up to 50% off the individual craft sets.
Here are some examples of what is included in the monthly subscriptions, based on age and crafting ability.
Sample Monthly Craft Subscription Projects
- Bird Houses and Pom Friends – Example of a Monthly Subscription for 6 to 8 year olds.
- Yarn Giraffes – Example of Monthly Subscription for 9 to 12 year olds.
- Stencil Purse Kit – Example of Monthly Subscription for Teens.
- Paper Bowls & Tassel Necklace – Example of Monthly Subscription for Adults.
Summer Crafts Are All
About Creating Family Fun
Part of what makes a family a family is doing shared activities and creating memories together. Whether that’s enjoying a trip to Tahiti, playing a silly rubber band game, or crafting a simple necklace at the kitchen table, our kids really don’t care.
It’s the doing together that they’re really looking for. Face-to-face time. Smiles, laughter, and something to remind them later of that sweet rainy morning where we wrote down wishes and hung them up to swing in the wind.
Your kids crave time with you.
The more happy fun-time with Mom and Dad, the stronger those family bonds become. Tie those heart-strings with embroidery thread and paste them together with glue. Make these special bonds stronger now, so they can withstand the tugging and pulling that’s coming in the Teen Years ahead. (Which will arrive faster than you think!)
Just don’t forget the googly eyes.
Just saying “googly eyes” makes me feel better. Like I can, perhaps, get through this summer without turning Amish and going off the deep end after all.
It’s possible. In fact…dare I say it’s probable?
Do you like to do regular crafts with your kids? What kinds of things do you do together?
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