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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

He's crafty, or he'd like to be

It's already been made clear that I'm feeling lacking when it comes to coming up with new things for Toddler in Chief and I to do together that don't involve matchbox cars or trains.

That said, I'm very excited to get the lowdown over the holidays from my mother-in-law who teaches Pre-K. She's going to load me up with kid-safe scissors and glitter and glue and pipe cleaners and hopefully give me a boatload of easy craft ideas to do with him that don't make huge messes.

As much as TIC loves painting, I can't stand having to watch all the paint buckets and brushes when we're done, which is usually about 15 minutes after we start. I need to get over my hate of cleaning and deal with my kid so that he can create art to his heart's content. If the weather were nicer, we'd be outside with a bucket of water painting the driveway. But seems like winter rain is going to be keeping us inside and stir-crazy for the foreseeable future.

Any ideas out there?


    It is easily cleaned by a wet cloth or eraser......HOURS of fun.

    I love chalkboards still and I am almost 30 ha ha ha

    don't forget the umbrella!

  2. Anonymous11:13 AM

    so a couple of tips...

    they have these little painting cups at target that you never have to wash. just pour the paint in, put on the cap, and you're done until refill time. when it tips, the paint doesn't spill out. then you're just left with brushes which you can just quickly rinse and toss in a jar filled with water til next time.

    ...try water colors. no paint buckets either. just a little water in the paint pallete tray. much easier on the cleaning.

    ...introduce TIC to big fat crayons or chalk. we wet the chalk and use it on dark construction paper. nol loves it. also has these paint pens. also very cool. then you've got zero to clean...the very best!!!

  3. O.k., so I think talking to Grandma over the holidays is a fabulous idea. My daughter's childcare person told me she got tons of great ideas from her grandparents who were school teachers. And she has the best projects! My daughter has made literally dozens of cool, funs things over the last month. She uses glue and things like beans and corn and pine cones and things like that. I think part of the minimal mess thing is careful supervision though - at least at two-and-half

  4. Ah-ha! I feel your pain here, I have been specifically focusing on finding activities that are artsy for my son because I just go nuts playing with trains for too long.

    Playdoh (easy as pie to make your own too so if you're as anal as I am and hate seeing colors mixed together, just make some more =).

    The paint pens rock, I have some waiting to give my son for hannukah because I too struggle with cleanup avoidance.

    We have a couple of little people play sets that he really likes as well. He often involves his trains in the play =) Or we'll go color or play with stickers, and the trains will come into play there - like we'll draw a railway and then move the trains along it. At least it's not the same as the usual train games!

    Aquadoodle is a great product, no mess and lets the kid create art. And they also have a thomas-themed one that has a way of making tracks.

    Money and banks - take a bunch of change and find a cool looking bank and spend hours putting it in and taking it out. Or instead of a bank, a toy cement mixer will do.

    Paper folding - make fans, hats, boats. I've been meaning to google up some more ideas for this too since my son really likes it.

    Paper snowflakes or people - you know, from second grade, you fold the paper and then cut out parts to make snowflakes or people that are all stuck together?

    It's not exactly art but it's kind of like it - lacing cards. I bought mine after reading an article that said boys tend to go into kindergarten with poorer fine motor skills compared to girls due to not playing with smaller toys.

    Paint with glue on paper and then glue other things onto the paper.

    Draw (or print out) pictures of things he likes (in our case it's nemo and dory) and then mount them on popsicle sticks. And then, if your house is anything like ours, dory and nemo will ride the train tracks. My nephews also got a kick out of a "stop" and a "go" sign mounted on popsicle sticks.

    Duplos - not just the plain blocks but they also make a bunch of sets with vehicles and things like that. We spend a lot of time building things with duplos (including things like train tracks :-)

    Buy a few different kinds of thick dishsoap in different colors, and squirt some of each color into a heavy-duty ziploc bag. Tape the bag shut and put it on a table and you can move your fingers around and squeeze the colors together.

    If you live in an area where the weather's nice outside now, paint with water on the sidewalk or a deck (I got this from my mom, she'd bring paint brushes to the pool - I looooved doing this as a kid)

    Homemade goop or paste - put down a plastic mat, strip him to a diaper, and mix up some flour and water together and play with it. It's easier cleanup than paint, at least!