Crafts are awesome. Crafts are great. Choosing materials, fitting them together to create something new. Glue.
My four-year-old especially loves the glue part.
I love seeing what my kids come up with, and I adore watching their brains fire, synthesize, and explain. I love when the day ends with a table covered in scraps of paper, googly eyes, paint, and puffballs. One the most oft repeated phrases in this house is, “If you’re dirty, you had a good day.”
There is one problem with crafting with kids: they want you to save everything. Also, you want to save everything because the kids made all the things. No matter how large your space is, however, crafts will expand to fill the available area and, eventually, you’ll run out of wall and fridge and washing machine, even if you’ve worked a rotation of display to storage. (I don’t know about your closets, but there are only so many art portfolios and boxes mine can handle despite the whole bottom floor of our house being turned into a riotous, colorful, glittery art gallery.)
But what if your completed crafts could take on a second life as toys? What if they could go?
Each of the sixty projects in this book is kinetic and active in your kids’ hands (some of them even go on their own). From the Sassy Circus Train (pg. 86) to the Sponge Tugboat (pg. 162) to the Pint Sized ice cream truck, the projects in Project Kid are all about the hows and whys of making stuff. How do you assemble a vehicle so the wheels spin (The Great Cop Caper, pg. 36)? How does a propeller work (Biplane Bookshelf, pg. 208)? What do you make a boat out of if you want it to float (Yellow Submarine, pg 172)?
Not only do the kids get the satisfaction of producing something with which they can then engage, you get the satisfaction of helping them grow both basic skills (cutting, sticking, painting, construction) and introducing them to more advanced techniques (measuring, sewing, and planting). Not only that, Project Kid: Crafts That Go is a great introduction to a bunch of different sciences: Materials. Physics, Chemistry. Electrical Engineering. Applied, in my mind, is always the way to go with science, especially in the early stages of learning; like Common Core Math, applied sciences lay a practical, concrete (no pun intended) foundation upon which kids can later build a house of more advanced concepts and theory.
Today, they make a Sponge Tugboat. In fifteen years? A raft that will help refugees cross oceans to a new life.
Keep in mind that some of these projects are complex and some are time-consuming (not all are one or the other); if your kids are very young, you may need to do those builds in stages or you may find yourself finishing and handing the toy off to a very excited, and possibly exasperated, child. Also consider that the vast majority of the Project Kid crafts require materials you won’t necessarily have laying around; if your modus crafterandi is, like mine (“hey, let’s see what we can make out of the stuff in the recycling bin that doesn’t smell too bad”), you may have to shift your thinking to plan crafting days and pick projects a bit more ahead to ensure you have everything.
Regardless, the kids will enjoy the process, and products of your joint ventures into Project Kid: Crafts that Go and so will you. And you may just get to put up that framed print that’s been gathering dust is the closet since the wee ones started pre-school.
Disclaimer: Artisan/Workman provided GeekMom with a review copy of Project Kid: Crafts that Go.