Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Crafts for Toddlers (Our Version)

It's December which means Christmas is right around the corner! Hip hip HOORAY! I love this time of year. (And yes, I know I say that about every time of the year. But it's TRUE!)

We spent last weekend putting up Christmas decorations and had a blast. Emily loved putting ornaments on the tree but it's becoming increasingly difficult to convince her to leave them on the tree. And I doubt she will be interested in taking them off when New Years rolls around and it's time to clean up.

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and a friend posted a link to two blog posts 20 Fun Toddler Christmas Activities and 20 Cute Christmas Crafts for Toddlers. Both were exactly what appeals to me as a parent: a great collection of arts and crafts activities to engage little ones in fun and learning.  There were a few on the lists I wasn't sure about (like, is it safe for children to play with Epsom salt?) and a few that looked easy and fun (the wall Christmas tree and holiday hand wreath).

Last night, I decided I would try out the holiday hand wreath. Because, ya know, what time better to do an arts and crafts activity than after a long day at work and day care?! But we had finished an early dinner (thanks to a wonderful husband who started cooking as soon as he got home) and it wasn't quite bed time.

You know those "nailed it" Pinterest memes? The ones with the cute Pinterest pics of bunny shaped biscuits beside a pic of someones best attempt that look more like possessed demons? Yep, that'd be me. 

Bless sweet Laura from Lalymom for guiding moms like me through activities like this. Because as much as I want to be that mom, I just think it's beyond some of us. Her suggestions were awesome but we successfully missed the mark on all of them.

Since I could not locate my phone to snap pictures of the tornado that was this craft activity, allow me to replay my internal-that-is-almost-always-external dialogue as I walked Emily through what should have been the simplest of steps:

"Ok, it looks like we need a paper plate. Do we have one of those? I probably should have thought of this before we started. Oh yeah! In the china cabinet!" (And yes, I get the irony here.)

"Dang! A paper plate is really hard to cut!"

"Ok, there we go. Emily, please don't touch the scissors."

"Emily, do not touch the pen. That's Mommy's. Here, hold the paper."

"Ok, Emily let's do your hand prints! Wait wait....come back! We are making a surprise present for Daddy!"
(I have learned that the words "surprise", "daddy" and "present" are magic words that get Emily to comply with just about any request. If you are able to use all three in a sentence, jackpot.)

"We don't have a glue stick. I guess a glue bottle will work? I dunno. I really should have planned ahead."

"Laura says: 'remember to allow the child to do the steps they can do.' Hm, what steps are those exactly? I will not be overbearing and try and 'fix' Emily's work. This is her's to make."

After managing to cut out red and green hands, we attempted to put them on the plate. "Emily, let's put your hand here. Ok, Mommy is going to hold the glue...."  ("WAAAAAAHHHH" from Emily) "Ok, Mommy will hold the glue with you."

Emily put exactly 5 hands on the plate and decided she was done and ran off the rest of the paper hands.

I peaked her curiosity and she came back to the table when I finally found some gift wrap ribbon (again, plan head MEGAN!). She proceeded to unravel the entire roll as I was attempting to paste the rest of the hands on the plate. (Well, I tried to let her do it by myself. I really did!)


"Ok, Emily! Almost done. Help Mommy put the ribbon here and here! Just a little piece and you can have the rest, I promise!!"

After tapping ribbon on the back to hang the wreath (yes, went off script but who is honestly surprised at this point), Emily proudly ran over to Randy and said "Daddy! I made you pwesant!"

There it is. The moment I was hoping for.

Randy oohed and ahhed for the appropriate amount of time. We put the wreath in a safe place for "Daddy to take to work tomorrow" (and yes, it is still sitting there this morning).  Randy returned to his tv show and Emily started her next project: dumping toys out of her toy basket.

I turned around to a table covered with glue, construction paper and a tangled mess of ribbon on the floor.

The last paragraph of Laura's post popped into my head: "Ta-da! Now you have a lovely wreath to hang or give as a gift! And bonus- your kids had lots of great fine motor skills practice! That’s how WE do classic kids crafts at our house! How do you do Christmas crafts? Fancy? Open-ended? Messy?"

Messy, Laura, always messy. But entertainingly so. That's how we do pretty much everything. And I fully accept that I am that mom.

Happy holiday crafting, friends!