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Tips for Crafting with Children on the Holidays

by Kelly D.

Holiday crafts can keep children occupied for hours, and the best part is there are plenty of craft projects that are simple and inexpensive. There are also a wide variety of crafts for different ages, even as young as 3.

No matter what the target age group of the craft you're doing, you should try the project out yourself first (even if its meant for little children) so that you can learn the steps and what the finished project will look like. You might even find yourself adding your own touches and twists.

If you have a shape you have to cut out, if possible, draw it out first. Try to make it near the edge of the material you're cutting it from. Like when cutting cookies from dough, the more shapes you can fit onto the material, the more you can get out of what you have.

Its important to remember that if you think you can improve on a craft project you've seen or found you should give it a try at least once because that's how recipes and craft projects are made better over the years. If you have an idea for a better material or method or ingredient to use, don't be afraid to deviate from the plan. Trial and error are how all things are improved over time.

Get messy! Don't be afraid to get crazy with paints, or food, or any other kind of silly or fun material. Children absolutely love anything that involves their senses or being hands-on. Figure out a way to turn a painting project into a toe-painting project (meaning they dip their toes in paint the way they would with finger painting). Get them to kneed the bread dough, even if you don't give them the whole batch of dough because you want some for your famous beautiful bread loaves, give them a bit, let them do like mommy or daddy is doing. Give them different colors of icing and sprinkles and let them decorate a batch of this year's holiday cookies.

Be thrifty. Check thrift stores or dollar stores for cheap materials for craft projects. The more materials and variation you can offer your kids, the more interested they will be. 
Check out this article for tips on how to get the most from your crafting dollars (How to Shop for Craft Project and Decorating Materials on a Budget).

Be patient. This is one of the most important things to remember when doing craft projects with children. They're doing something they've either never done before, or aren't very adept at yet, so let them have their mistakes. Don't take over the project. If it's starting to look like a ghastly mess, put a smile on your face and compliment their work anyway. This is not to say that you can't gently nudge them along into bettering their arts and crafts, but you have to do it passive-aggressively. If you take over, or freak out, they won't want to have anything to do with it. This is for them, not you. At the least, its a wonderful memory you could be making for your child, at the most, its a total bonding experience of time spent closely and creatively between parent and child.

About the Author-
Kelly D. is a staff writer and site editor for HolidaysDot.com.

Kelly D.

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