6 Secrets of Successful Multi-Age Crafting
My kids love crafting! I love that they learn so much while creating. But with kids ranging in age from teen to baby, our crafting time takes some definite intentionality.
I can’t just go to Pinterest, pick one beautiful project, and get the kids started.
Their abilities and interests are just too varied.
Some of them would find success on the project I selected, while the rest would be miserable. I’d end up tempted to do the project for them.
And that’s not the point of art.
Instead, I’ve discovered six key ways to ensure success when dealing with art time for a wide range of ages.
1. Lower Your Expectations
This may be the most important tip of all. You cannot expect all your kids to complete Pinterest-worthy crafts every single time they craft.
If you’re doing art time to show off how crafty your kids are, you’re probably doing it for the wrong reason.
Instead, focus on the process. What they make isn’t nearly as important as the skills they learn while crafting.
Your children will be working on essential soft skills such as:
- Building imagination
- Working collaboratively or independently
- Using supplies appropriately
- Solving problems
In addition, they’ll be practicing plenty of fine and gross motor skills while they’re having fun.
With all that going on, it’s okay if you don’t feel like framing and displaying everything they make.
2. Let Your Kids Be Creative
I hardly ever have a plan in place for craft time. I simply pull out the supplies, and let the kids do what they do best: create.
I could never come up with some of the amazing ideas they have. Like building a turtle out of string. Or turning a paper plate into a bird feeder.
I don’t even pretend to give myself credit for their great ideas. When I turn them loose, they get super creative, and I’m always impressed.
3. Ensure Simple Rules Are Followed
Multi-age crafting should be enjoyable, not stressful. I don’t want to worry that my toddler is going to grab a pair of sharp scissors and get hurt with them.
So, we have five simple rules for crafting time in our house. They keep us safe and make clean-up simple!
- Sharp objects are for responsible parties only. Keep tabs on them and put them away immediately when you’re done.
- Pick up everything you drop (we have a child with Pica in the house)
- Put the lids back on your markers
- Stay in the crafting area
- When you finish, clean up after yourself
My rules might not be what your kids need. I encourage you to create your own simple craft rules. Let your kids help you decide on them, to get their buy-in.
4. Don’t Overwhelm Your Kids with Supplies
I keep the options simple. That means I don’t completely empty the crafting supply cupboard each time. Otherwise, I’d overwhelm the kids with options and make a huge mess.
Instead, I keep it simple.
I bring out crayons and a variety of papers. If the older kids want a specific supply (scissors, glue, yarn, etc.) for a project, they can get it. But, they’re responsible for ensuring it gets taken care of and cleaned up when they’re done.
5. Let Your Kids Be Done When They’re Done
We usually put a movie on during craft time. My youngest kids color for a bit, then go watch the movie. They’re in the same room, but don’t have to craft for as long as the older kids.
Everyone has a different attention span, and having a second option available keeps whining and fighting to a minimum.
6. Leave Time for Sharing
We end each crafting session with a quick share session. Everyone shows off what they created. It’s great public speaking practice, and teaches the kids to have pride in their work.
It also teaches the younger kids to create something before they stop and go watch a movie. That way they have something to share!
What are your secrets for successful multi-age crafting? I’d love for you to share in the comments!
Lisa Tanner is a homeschooling mom of eight. She loves writing about balancing diapers and deadlines, and ways to make learning fun.