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Keys to Crafting Success

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5. Pick a Quick and Easy First Project

I say this with some reservations, since I can only speak from my own experience and I don't always reflect the norm. I sometimes learn best when I'm making something I really want to make, even if it's a little more difficult than a beginner's project. I may need help at various stages, but I'm more likely to stick with something I'm really excited about. I suspect some people might be like me, but others prefer the exhilaration of a first success and then move with confidence to a project they find more exciting.

If a project's too long and involved I can lose interest, so I often pick one that can be done in a day or a weekend for the satisfaction of completing something quickly. Gauge yourself and your child and determine what suits you. Choose your projects carefully, and certainly give your child as much say as possible in the choices.

6. Allow for Spontaneity

I know, I just told you to plan. That's true, but there's a more general way of planning that sparks unplanned crafting sessions that can be just as much fun. Fill up a medium to large box with crafts materials that your child can work with at any time. This means no toxic materials or dangerous tools (gear this to your child's age and ability). Check the box periodically and make sure it's well-supplied. It should contain crayons, colored pencils, glue, construction paper, rubber stamps, ink pads, stickers, scissors, paper fasteners, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, fabric scraps, yarn, string, scraps of ribbon and gift wrap, recyclables … whatever you feel comfortable letting your child play with when you aren't supervising closely.

Make up another box that's labeled "Adults Only." This box can contain other crafts materials that require supervision or raise safety concerns. Teach kids the difference and explain that one box is off limits without an adult and the other is theirs to play with on their own.

Provide your kids with their very own crafts apron, gloves, eye protection, crafts box, and a clean, well-lighted work area. Then watch them go!

If your child has become especially interested in a particular craft, you can put together a kit with lots of materials for that specific craft. If the hobby is rubber stamping, for example, create a rubber stamp box. If it's woodworking, have a toolbox just for her and some scrap wood to use whenever an idea strikes. Encourage your child to decorate the box and personalize it.

Keep crafts boxes, tools, and supplies in an easy-to-reach location to encourage your child to use them AND to put them away when she's done (I'll talk more about organizing in Choosing Your Crafting Space). Teach your child to clean up carefully and return everything neatly to the box for the next crafting session.

7. Have a Sense of Humor

If you can't laugh, then what's the point? This is play, remember? So if you find yourself getting too intense or losing your temper, lighten up! Laugh at yourself and you'll be giving permission for others to laugh along with you. Everybody else thought the glitter stuck on Mommy's nose was funny, too.



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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crafts with Kids © 1998 by Georgene Lockwood. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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