Been thinking about this a lot lately. I love crafting with my kids. It’s fun. It’s a bonding and learning experience. We get to share creativity. All of these things are true, but that’s not what this is about.
Sometimes, I may have an unexpected deadline and no sitter. Or maybe I just don’t want them in my grill all the time. And yes, I know they should do things without me, and they do. This is for the times when they don’t really want to and you need them to.
1. Make a banner or garland! Whatever the season, find an object that you can cut out in paper or felt that is about 6 inches tall. For instance, we did pumpkins in the fall, hearts near Valentines Day, trees in the summer. I usually cut about 10 per kid. Then I put glue and sequins, glitter, buttons, yarn etc on the table and they decorate them. (While they are doing this, I sew an apron, or do laundry or sneak into the bathroom and read.) When they are finished, we use a hole punch and poke holes in the tops of these things, or the sides depending on what it is, and string them together. Now we have a garland! Hang it above the kitchen table or on the fireplace. Ta-da!
2. Wash potatoes. Seriously. They LOVE it. When my kids were really little, like just barely walking, I would give them one potato and a bowl of water. They would wash their potato for at least half an hour. Potatoes are dirty, people! Now that they are 7 and 5 (the 15 year old isn’t into this one), they take them into the bathroom and wash them in the sinks. Give them toothbrushes or scrub brushes and let them go to town. A couple of towels are good too. It’s fun to play in water, dirty water, and also then at dinner, I have clean potatoes.
3. Put all the kid-friendly craft supplies on the table and don’t say anything. This is not a sure thing but usually, if you just start making something they will want to see and join in the fun. We have a TON of supplies and kits and whatever else. So I put it all on the table and start making a card. They will want to be sure you aren’t having fun without them and wander over. When they get involved, slowly walk away. I know! If you are judging me right now, you either have a nanny, or have one kid. This one sometimes backfires. Not a good one to do in my house when they haven’t slept or are just being jerks.
4. Window crayons. If you don’t have these, you should. They are just crayons that write on the windows and easily wash off. I am in love with window crayons. We have a sliding glass door to the patio (slab) and they love it. Which sort of leads to the next one…..
5. Give them a spray bottle of water and two small towels or washcloths. Two because they will want one to be sort of dry. If you have any glass doors in your house, this is really great. Let them spray the water on the window and wipe it off. Over and over and over and over. My 7 year old isn’t really into this one any more, so I have a variation. She washes the baseboards. SERIOUSLY! For her, it’s not an annoying back-breaking chore that you won’t ever get thanked for doing. It’s a fun thing to do with a spray bottle of water. And she doesn’t soak the floor because she’s 7.
Those are the ones I think are the easiest. I didn’t even get into old lipstick and fingernail polish, putting socks on their hands and letting them dust, or putting wet socks on their feet and letting them mop the kitchen (so fun!).