Doing Crafts with our Kids and another ?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-25-2006
Doing Crafts with our Kids and another ?
9
Tue, 03-17-2009 - 7:06pm

I need to ask this question, and another one, and I admit, I am embarrassed to ask it.

Avatar for indy_baby
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2005
Tue, 03-17-2009 - 8:43pm

Stephanie, thanks so much for having the guts just to come right out and ask about this stuff! I feel the same way a LOT of the time. I love being around my kids, and I do enjoy doing things with them, but I have a hard time getting down and really playing with them. Sammie is always asking me to play dolls/dollhouse or color with her, etc., and it's almost like I'm not sure how or something. Ben is easier because I can just be crazy and silly with him for a few minutes, and then he's off doing something else.


And the crafts... I waited a long time to start doing messy stuff, because I simply do not have the patience to deal with huge messes of glue/glitter/etc. We just started Playdoh last week! I did let them make Valentines out of construction paper, glue, and crayons, but there were rules given ahead of time. They did really well!


I don't have real advice, but wanted you to know you're not alone. And I don't think this makes us inadequate mothers or anything. I think the "you must play WITH your children" mindset is pretty modern thinking. My favorite parenting expert, Dr. John Rosemond, wrote in the Terrific 2's book that until the last generation or so, kids were a lot more independent of their parents when it came to playtime. I think playing with your kids is wonderful, but I also think it makes sense that an adult woman would have a difficult time getting down to play like a small child.


I am very lucky that my kids were born with built-in playmates and keep each other busy. I like to get them started on activities or projects, and then leave them to run with it. And I check in with them and will join in for a quick minute. My one-on-one time with them is more like having them help me cook or wash dishes, or snuggling, or reading books, or just talking, or having a meal/snack together.


I will be very interested to see what other moms say about this!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2006
Tue, 03-17-2009 - 9:20pm

Ditto ditto ditto to what Jamie said!!!

I do spend a certain amount of time playing with Joe - he is pretty content playing by himself (which I think is quite healthy for them to learn to do - he creates and imagines a lot more when he is by himself) but there are times where he asks me "Mommy play with you" - LOL - where he wants me to usually sit and do a puzzle, or read a book, or stick stickers in a sticker book with him, and normally I will oblige - but I certainly am not spending hours at a time on the floor with him!! I will crash cars every once in a while with him or roll a ball back and forth, but after a while I tell him Mommy has to get up now and he can play for a while with his other toys. I dont feel guilty one bit either, if he is doing his own thing, or watching Noggin, and Im on the computer or cleaning up, or on the phone - the way I see it, Joe gets TONS of attention and PLENTY of my time, and I do need to do my "own" thing every once in a while. I dont consider that a "Mom at a distance" so much as "Mom keeping her sanity" LOL!

As far as crafts go, luckily Joe still goes to DC 2 days a week and they do lots of crafts every day, so I dont feel so guilty about not doing very many of them. The crafts we do at home consist of washable EVERYTHING - paint, markers, crayons - so I know I wont have a heart attack if there is a big mess. I cover the table with newspaper and put a smock on him, and let him at it. I dont stop him from really being creative, but he knows the crayons are for the paper, and not the floor, table or walls. We dont do glitter or anything messy like that unless its OUTSIDE. I let go of getting worried about him getting dirty when I saw the absolute joy it brought him to jump around in a rain puddle last year - no big deal, we change clothes or hop in the tub, and thats that!!!! :-)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2006
Tue, 03-17-2009 - 10:34pm

You're awesome for asking this. I tend to 'mother from a distance' as well, spending time cleaning or on the computer. Don't get me wrong I love to play with her, but sometimes I just... don't, KWIM? I love her to death and I'm blessed that she's so content to play by herself. Her imagination is wonderful and I love that. Jamie gave good advice, so I just wanted to say "ME TOO!"

Craft wise we do crafts but if it's too messy I tend to avoid it because the mess scares me. I'm getting better at that though :)


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Avatar for indy_baby
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2005
Tue, 03-17-2009 - 11:57pm

Hey, I was thinking about this some more...


Use glue sticks instead of runny glue from bottles! I bought a pack of 6 Disney princess glue sticks that have purple glue, so you can see exactly where it is going. If a project requires runny glue, I'd wait until she is a little bit older.


And does Bella have coloring books and crayons? Sammie is hugely into coloring right now. She has both coloring books and some doodle pads of plain paper, and washable crayons. I only let her color either at the kitchen island or at the table, to contain mess and crayon markings. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser takes stray crayon marks off of anything & everything in case there is a little oopsie.


As far as playing goes, sometimes I feel like I do need to push myself to actively play more, especially outside. I was never a very active child and hated the outdoors because of bugs and dirt, and am very much the same way as an adult. My kids love bugs and dirt and (shudder) worms, so I really need to at least make an effort to share that with them. I have actually found that I do enjoy playing with those cheap bouncy balls that Walmart and Target have in the tall cages... I stand and kick the balls, and the kids chase them. LOL! Hey, it's playing with them, right? :D


Anyway, just thought I'd throw that in there, FWIW. I hope we are helping you feel a little better about yourself!!!

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Avatar for ralenth
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 03-18-2009 - 9:19am

Okay, I haven't read all the responses, but I have some great suggestions for keeping crafts mess-free. The biggest thing I've done is pick up 3 or 4 serving type trays (the ones I have are plastic, I got them at the Christmas Tree shop for like $2 each, and they have a lip all the way around the edge). They are big enough for paper, paint, etc. and keep things from spilling. Also make for an easy clean up - oh, and if you have more than one child (as I do) it is easy to keep them from bickering, because each child has what they need on their tray. Also old tee-shirts (we've used DH's in the past, though an older child's tee shirt would work, too) over clothes to keep paint, etc. off the clothes. They sell smocks, too, to help keep clothes clean. Glue sticks are also easy for little ones to use without making too much of a mess. The biggest problem is making sure you put the caps back on or they will dry out.

A great book to buy is the Preschooler's Busy Book. FULL of suggestions of things you can do, from homemade playdoh to activities for the car or for rainy days.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-25-2006
Wed, 03-18-2009 - 10:09am

Thank you all!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2005
Wed, 03-18-2009 - 2:26pm

I don't think you need to feel guilty in the least.


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2006
Wed, 03-18-2009 - 7:50pm

Just wanted to chime in some more with what Amie said - Joey LOVES to help me clean!!! Lots of times, even if Joey gives me a hard time about changing his diaper I will ask him if he can HELP ME do it, and then he is much obliged!

Also - crafts in the tub are the BEST - crayons, paints, shaving creams - he loves it and the best part is it rinses right down the drain!!!

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Registered: 06-01-2006
Wed, 03-18-2009 - 10:01pm

I only have a sec, as Zoe will want to eat as soon as Daddy is done with the diaper, but wanted to give you some ways to contain the mess a bit with crafts.

-put a nickel/quarter size dot of glue on a paper plate and give her a q-tip to apply it with. For us, this works better than glue sticks because Noah tends to use glue sticks as crayons and just covers everything :P

-egg cartons. or other containers that have dividers, work for holding a few of each thing so that there just isn't as much to get messy.

-use those plastic table clothes. I pick them up cheap after the hallmark holidays and use them until they die and get more. They wipe up nicely, you don't really care what happens to them, and you can fold them up and then dump everything out into the trash.

-a big shirt over their clothes works as a great smock. A button up shirt is better as you can unbutton it rather than pull it over the head if it has paint or something on it.

-I got roll on paint from a catalog that works pretty well.

-have wipes or a wet wash cloth nearby to wipe hands before they get down. Or, at the very least, have everything ready by the sink (stool and what not) so that you aren't trying to find things while they walk around with messy hands.

Or, at the very least....get bathtub paint and bathtub crayons and contain the mess in there :P

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