6 Secrets to Successful Multi-Age Crafting

6 Secrets of Successful Multi-Age Crafting

My kids love crafting! I love that they learn so much while crafting. With seven kids ranging from 1-14, I’ve learned that multi-age crafting is different.

I can’t just go to Pinterest, pick a beautiful project, and get the kids started.

They’re abilities and interests are just too varied.

Some of them would find success on the project I picked, while others would be miserable. I’d end up tempted to do the project for them.

And that’s not the point of art.

Here are the top tips I use to ensure multi-age crafting success.

We use them frequently–several times a week at least. Art is so much fun when done like this!

1. Lower Your Expectations

There. I said it.

You cannot expect all of your kids to complete Pinterest worthy crafts every single time they craft.

If you’re doing art 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:

  • Creativity
  • Building imagination
  • Working collaboratively or independently
  • Using supplies appropriately
  • Solving problems

In addition to practicing plenty of fine and gross motor skills.

With all that going on, it’s okay if you don’t feel like framing and displaying every single thing 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. I don’t even pretend to try.

During our last craft session, here’s what the kids did:

  • Jayme (14): Hand sewed some fabric into a Spiderman Hood for a costume collection she’s making.
  • Jeff (7): Created a Mario and Luigi craft by drawing shapes, cutting them out, and gluing them together.
  • Ellie (5): Made a farm set by drawing different farm animals, coloring them, and cutting them out.
  • Sydney (4): Colored some Doc McStuffins coloring pages Jayme printed out for her
  • Simon (2): Colored a few minutes on a piece of paper
  • Brynna (1): Picked up crayons and dropped them back into a bucket.
  • Owen (9–with Angelman Sydrome): Played with a drawing app on the iPad a few minutes
  • Me: Made a jumping origami frog and flying bird.

3. Ensure Simple Rules Are Followed

Multi-age crafting should be enjoyable, not stressful. I don’t want to worry that my 1 year old is going to grab a pair of sharp scissors and poke her eye out.

So, we have five simple rules in our house. They keep us safe, and make clean-up simple!

  1. Sharp Objects are for Responsible Parties Only–Keep Tabs on Them & Put Them Away Immediately When Finished
  2. Pick Up Everything You Drop (we have a child with Pica in the house who loves to eat crayons…)
  3. Put Your Lids Back on Your Markers
  4. Stay in the Crafting Area (usually the dining room table)
  5. When You’re Done, Clean Up Your Supplies

My four year old follows all these rules–they aren’t that complicated. I’ve found my kids learn through example. The older ones definitely help make sure the youngers follow the crafting rules.

Otherwise, we keep the supplies up for a week.

My rules might not be what your kids need. I encourage you to create your own simple craft rules. Teach them to your kids gently, and ensure you have a consequence for when the rules get broken.

4. Don’t Overwhelm Your Kids with Supplies

I don’t bring out every single craft supply in the house each time we create. Otherwise, I’d overwhelm the kids with options. 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 actually 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!

Photo by Aaron Burden via Unsplash.

reasons to sing the alphabet song

Three Reasons to Sing the Alphabet Song With Your Child

 

Do you remember singing the alphabet song as a kid? I know I do!

Familiarity with the alphabet is a huge predictor in reading success.

Signing this catchy song is a fun introduction to the alphabet. Here are three reasons to sing the alphabet song

1. Children Memorize Songs Quickly

Ever had a song stuck in your head? It just keeps replaying, without you even thinking about it. We are musical creatures, and easily remember words to songs.

Research shows that songs are a good way to teach academic material, because they are easily memorized. The beat, rhythm, and tune get embedded in our brain, and we find ourselves singing it again and again.

We can use this to our advantage when teaching our kids. The Alphabet Song will help them quickly memorize the names of the letters.

2. Singing the ABC Song Preps Your Student for Letter Identification

The Alphabet Song introduces your child to letters in a fun, non-threatening way. They just have to sing the song.

And while they are singing? They are building neuron paths in the brain that will later be associated with letter identification.

They are building a foundation.

You can’t build a house without a foundation.

Likewise, you can’t learn to read without a foundation. The alphabet IS the foundation for reading success. The Alphabet Song preps the brain for the important work of learning the alphabet.

3. You Can Teach Some Simple Activities with the ABC Song

Attention spans of young children are short. That means we have to take advantage of short teachable moments that occur throughout the day.

Your child will benefit more from consistent, short lessons than from long, drawn out ones.

Working with your child while singing the alphabet song will help you to increase your child’s reading skills without frustration.

Here’s How

Before you sit down with your child, quickly write the alphabet on a piece of paper. As you sing The Alphabet Song together, have him point to each letter.

You can also write each letter on a piece of paper, and spread them across the floor. As you child sings, have her jump from one letter to the next.

These quick activities help your child associate letter names with the letter shapes.

You want your child to sing the ABC song. Start singing it early, and often. Talk about letters as you’re out and about.

The more you play with letters, the easier your child will pick them up.

What are your reasons for singing The Alphabet Song?

Share in the comments!