When my oldest two were younger and had just started school I remember how excited I was whenever they brought home any kind of art work. Full of pride, I would hang it on the fridge or kitchen wall convincing myself that they were going to be famous artists one day.
Then I had more children.
All children seem to like arts and crafts, and if you are like myself and have more than one child under the age of 10 this can become a very messy affair. Seriously, if anyone can point out the moron who invented finger painting, please do. I will take immense pleasure in hurting him or her. There is nothing that creates more mess than a bunch of children gathered around the kitchen table, dipping their fingers into paint and then spreading said paint all over their paper, or if its anything like in my home, all over your table, walls, door knobs, themselves.......
The other craft activity that is just as messy is gluing. Now I don't know about your children, but my children take great pleasure in taking bits of paper, and gluing them onto a big sheet of paper, or my walls, clothes, door knobs, themselves........
Then there are the arts and crafts tools. Scissors in particular are dangerous, aside from them being able to stab, poke, slice and generally harm our children, the biggest danger happens when your precious offspring reach that special milestone in fine motor skills - yes, I am talking about when they can actually cut with the damn things! As much as we can provide them with an endless supply of paper it just isn't good enough.
When my third child was able to cut properly, he became what I call "scissor happy". Suddenly he was a barber and cutting his siblings hair, a fashion designer and cutting up clothing, and then my favourite - the bed sheets. Let me tell you there is nothing as nice as laying in your cozy bed, when suddenly your feet are poking out of the hole that was cut in your $500 Ralph Lauren sheets! As a side note, expensive sheets are no longer allowed in my house until ALL my children reach the ripe ol' age of at leat 18!
Finally there is the issue of where to display it all! I used to put it all into containers, and I still do, but I also have spaces on the kitchen wall for each child under the age of 10 - so that would be 6 spots. Once they complete more work, the ones that have been hanging are taking down and put in the special container and the new art work is put up for display. I also allow my children to put their art work up on their bedroom walls - why waste money on wall paper when you have children to create their own?
Now a few cautionary words of wisdom for you.
1. NEVER pretend to know what your child has drawn, painted, or made. Your bs attempt will infuriate them which in turn leads to meltdowns. Instead compliment them on their use of color, space, - whatever. Just do not ask what it is! You have been warned.
2. Do not allow dads to see any art work before it is hung up. They just don't seem to get how special it is to our precious children, and they typically will look at it and then toss it somewhere (usually the trash can). If you are not this type of dad then congratulations and I bow down to you;)
3. BAN sissors - no explanation required here.
4. If your children are under 4 you can get away with using water instead of actual paint - just tell them its invisible magic paint that can only be seen by special people such as moms.
5. Wait as long as you can before you even introduce the messy activity or arts and crafts...
Okay now fess up. Do you really enjoy your children doing arts and crafts? What tips do you have to help ease the messiness? Finally where do you store all the art work?
Until next time,