My daughter LOVES to craft! Her own way 🙂
The first time Ladybug asked to craft it was because I was working on a project and she wanted to join me.
I was delighted to have her and we had a good time.
When she kept asking for more and more crafts, I started looking for kids crafts for her and her brother.
Each MGT craft comes with directions, materials unique to the craft, and a list of general supplies that you may need to complete the craft such as markers or glue.
For the first few days with the curriculum we had fun with the crafts, but it was mostly a race to get through the craft without covering the entire house in paint or glue.
I put way to much emphasis on the final product and gave way too many instructions.
I failed to use Mother Goose Time Curriculum to it’s full advantage. I concentrated almost exclusively on gathering materials and creating the projects and crafts. I completely overlooked the most important parts of the craft sheet: Discuss (the chance to learn through reflection and application of ideas) and Explore (the chance to learn through play and experience). I was all about the Create part of the craft and overlooked key words in the Create section such as “invite” and “encourage.” Instead I dictated, explained, and demonstrated.
The result was a short lived craft with me doing most of the work, disinterested kids looking for yet, something else to do, and finished piece of artwork that no one really wanted. Totally not what I wanted and not what Mother Goose Time intended.
Frustrating for me! Frustrating for the kids!
I thought about pitching the curriculum and looking for another way to let my kids experience art. For a few weeks we didn’t do much of anything. Trolling Pinterest and trying to find all the craft materials myself quickly became a HUGE time suck and too much for me to manage in addition to caring for a new baby. Plus, none of the crafts we tried were any better, if anything they were worse. The problem wasn’t Mother Goose Time or their crafting process, it was me and how I was using their curriculum.
Finally, after having read several articles about the importance of process art I elected to try a different approach with my little artist.
I offered the same craft to my daughter at two separate times with two different approaches.
Approach One – Structured
I introduced the craft and dictated instructions.
We worked together to complete the project, had an OK time, and at the end had a product that looked similar to the pictured example.
We were also done in about five minutes and neither of us cared too much for the result. It looked pretty much like the example, nothing unique or original or exciting.
One major benefit from using this approach was being able to introduce Ladybug to using the fork as a “stamp” with the paint. She liked this technique and went on to use it on her own in several future art projects.
Approach Two – Semi-Structured
I approached the craft more as an invitation to play. We used the Discuss and Explore prompts from Mother Goose Time. I gave her the suggested supplies, invited her to explore the materials, and encouraged her to create a cactus. Then I sat back and let her do whatever she wanted (within reason) with the materials.
Now, this was fun. She used the glue as paint and truthfully, as it dried it worked almost as well.
She used scissors to cut off the “pretend” prickly parts because she didn’t want to get stuck. Have I mentioned this little gal is SERIOUSLY into imaginative play?
She also used the fork as the base of her cactus after she was done painting on the spikes.
This free ended version of crafting with Mother Goose Time was much more fun and kept those adorable busy little hands occupied for close to half an hour. I’ve learned several things from this little experiment of mine, which I have now replicated with several Mother Goose Time projects.
- Mother Goose Time and other preschool boxed curriculum can be used successfully to create both product and process art.
- Don’t skip the Discuss and Explore parts of the craft. That’s where the learning and lots of the fun happens.
- Product art is useful for helping children follow directions and to try something new – like a new technique.
- Art that focuses more on the process inspires creativity, lasts longer, and can be much more enjoyable for both child and parent (at least with practice).
- Process art doesn’t always result in a photographable, definable end product, but that doesn’t diminish or define how much fun has been had or how much learning has taken place.
Sometimes I still have to sit on my hands and I work harder than I’d like to admit at keeping my mouth closed, but allowing her to do the craft herself is so clearly the way to go for us. She’s happier. I’m happier. The crafts are more unique and mostly finished. She also likes to demolish them when she’s done, so I’m learning to be quick with my camera 🙂
I’m so glad my daughter loves to craft in her own unique way and I’m glad that I have finally managed to create an environment where my daughter is able to enjoy the process rather than racing through to the product.
What challenges do you face doing art projects with your children?
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