Crafty Fun for Inside Days!

I have a confession.  I really, really dislike kid’s crafts.  

I mean – I like the idea of kid’s crafts.  I respect that craft projects occupy my little one’s time and attention, however brief and messy.  I’m sure there are all kinds of benefits to be obtained from finger-painting toilet paper tubes and cutting up magazines.  Creative thinking skills.  Art skills.  Motor skills.  

But if I’m being completely honest, kids crafts are a huge pain.  Maybe my feelings towards craft time will change as my little one gets older, but at 4 years old, I can think of alternate activities that I’d prefer.  

Other moms have it all figured out, but at my house, this is how it goes:

  1. 4 year old is excited about crafting and starts pulling out paint and brushes.
  2. I grit my teeth and fake a smile.
  3. I proceed to pull out paper plates, newspaper, art paper, and tape.
  4. I tape a large section of newspaper on the floor and place art paper on newspaper.
  5. I squirt a bit of 3 colors of paint on a paper plate.
  6. 4 year requests more paint colors.
  7. I oblige.
  8. I roll up her sleeves.
  9. 4 year spends 30 seconds smearing all the paint onto art paper, and then starts painting her fingernails and toes with paint.  Then says she’s bored and starts to get up.
  10. I rush over to get her washed up before she touches anything.
  11. While I’m not looking, the dog walks through her paint project and smears paint all over floors.
  12. I give the dog and 4 year old a bath, clean up supplies, clean floor, and try to find wall space to hang up her “creation.”  Ugh.

Luckily, I have found an alternate way for my kid to get crafty that doesn’t involve me pulling out my hair – making and decorating greeting cards!  

You can use any paper you have on hand, or buy pre-folded blank notecards.  This is a great way to use up that never ending stash of stickers, Washi tape, or scraps of leftover wrapping paper.  

Plus – I love that this craft serves a purpose – sending some handcrafted love to our family and friends!

Here’s what I do:

I grab a blank greeting card (or fold some cardstock to use as a greeting card) and let my little one decorate the front however she wants.  She usually likes to put stickers or paste bits of colorful paper on the front.

Then, I ask her what she wants to say and write the message for her. Older kids can write their own messages.  

Once I’ve written the greeting, I give the card back to her and she decorates all the white space with crayons, markers, or colored pencils. 

When she’s done, I usually tuck in a recent photo or two of her and off it goes in the mail, hopefully, to make someone’s day brighter!

My little one really loves this, and sometimes she even gets fun cards in return!

Grandparents make the best pen pals.

I love this type of project because she gets to be crafty, but there is very little clean up for me AND it serves a great purpose.  

Sometimes we make a stash of cards to use for children’s birthday parties, and it’s always fun to see a handcrafted thank you card from the birthday child in return.

She just created a big stash of these crafty cards to use as our thank you cards for our Christmas gifts, and I’ve noticed that anytime she’s given a gift, she always asks to make a thank you card.  This makes my mommy heart swoon.

If you are stuck inside on a snowy day, this is the perfect project!  Send some cards to your family and friends.  Stock up on birthday cards and thank you cards, or get a head start on making Easter cards.  Happy (easy) Crafting!

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