Saturday, January 22, 2011

300 Crafts for Kids (and a chance to WIN Melissa & Doug Art Supplies!)

My little guy is nearly 27 months old. For his second birthday, in November, and for Christmas, I stocked him up on art supplies - crayons, watercolors, glue sticks, and play dough were the main attractions. He absolutely LOVES using these. At his age, he wants to be able to do "big people" things, and having these supplies available to him helps with that. Unfortunately, he was getting bored doing the same thing over and over. And I have a huge pile of computer paper covered with scribbles and paint. I cannot bring myself to toss any of the hundreds of pieces of "art" but I really don't have enough wall space to show them off.

Along came Gummy Lump's "300 Crafts for Kids in 2011" to save the day! Nearly every day, Gummy Lump's BLOG and FACEBOOK page will have a new craft for you to enjoy with your child. Each project is designed with younger children in mind. They take between 5 and 30 minutes to complete (not counting drying time) and use supplies that you probably have at home or are readily available wherever you shop. And not to worry if you don't have the exact supplies called for. After the instructions, there are "Optional Ideas" that offer alternative ways the project can be done. There are ALSO tips for doing the projects with older kids and those with special needs.

I'll admit that I was hesitant to try these out with a two-year-old. I mean, let's face it - you never, ever know what might cause a huge tantrum. I could just imagine glue and crayons flying everywhere, maybe even finding sequins in my hair hours (or days!) later. We had already had a go-around about who got to use the white school glue last week and I was not sure if it would be fun or frustrating for both of us. But, I took a deep breath and we did project #13, "Heart Mosaic Valentine Wall Hanging." Here's what it was supposed to look like when finished:

From: Gummy Lump's Blog
I guess that maybe 13 is our lucky number - We had a blast! I made sure that I had all of our supplies ready before I even mentioned that we were going to do a "project" - one of the most exciting words in the world to my little guy. While he napped, I cut a cardboard heart. When I realized that we had run out of construction paper it took only a second to spot our very tall pile of toddler-paintings on the counter and I used one of those to cut a second heart. I set out each item in the order we would need it in. Since we didn't have the foam stickers, sequins, or glitter glue called for, I improvised with beads, rhinestones, little wooden hearts that I've had in my craft drawer for many years (hey, they were on sale!), and markers. Yeah, I know, I need to get shopping if we're going to try to keep up with all 300 craft activities!

Upon awaking, little guy was ecstatic when he saw all of the fun things he could get into. (Did I mention that my craft supply drawers have had to be "locked" with duct tape due to his curiosity? You should see the glitter that is still embedded in the carpet from the day he discovered these drawers held magical treasures!)

The first step was pretty easy and he was able to do most of it himself. We had to wrap the cardboard in tin foil. I only had to help him mold it around the bottom and the dip at the top - he managed to do the rest himself.

Then, we needed to glue the smaller construction paper (or, in our case, watercolor heart) to the foil one. Here's where I expected trouble. Luckily, he was so excited to be doing this that he allowed me to "help" him squeeze the glue bottle without any protest. After the heart was in place, I brought out some colored scraps of paper I had been saving forever. We tore them into pieces and I had him choose one piece and tell me where he wanted it. Then, I put a few dots of glue on that place and he put the paper in place. Once all the paper was glues, we moved on to the beads and rhinestones. I could tell, just by watching him, that he was feeling very important!

When our project was completed, I had him look at it as a whole. Up until that point, I think he was focused on each little section he was working on. His eyes lit up and he said, "Fancy project!" (To him, "fancy" is reserved for anything shiny or sparkly.) He was so proud! I've heard the expression "puffed chest" used to describe someone who is proud, but this was the first time I've seen it with my own eyes.

He even helped me clean all of the supplies up and wash off the highchair tray with no complaints. I had expected major protests when we were through. But he seemed to understand that the project was complete and we didn't need to do any more. I'm still trying to decide which craft we'll do tomorrow. Since we started at number 13, that means that there were 12 projects that we still haven't done. Let's see... I recall seeing a few cooking projects, one with ink and fingerprints, another with cotton balls.... Hmmm...

Oh! One more thing! If you complete any of the crafts posted by Gummy Lump, go over to their Facebook page and upload a picture of the completed project. Every Friday, Gummy Lump will give away Melissa & Doug art supplies to one of the photos uploaded that week.

You can find everything you need at . And, right now, Gummy Lump is offering a 20% discount on all Melissa & Doug merchandise!

***I was not asked to write about Gummy Lump. This post was written by me because I want to share this great idea with others who may be interested in spending time creating fun crafts with their children. Please read the article about crafting with your children before starting on this path. I think it is so important to give children their artistic freedom when it comes to this type of activity. Just because a project doesn't turn out looking just like the one we imagine in our heads doesn't mean our children aren't reaping the benefits of being creative.***

3 comments: said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you so much for posting this. I am so flattered and I have to say that every time I see that photo of your son I can feel the pride! That is the absolute BEST! To see our children PROUD of themselves is so terrific. Arts & crafts projects can do that and that's why I love them. I am NOT a crafter, but the 300 Crafts for Kids in 2011 was my New Year's Resolution to spend quality time with my kids, get them over their fear of getting "messy", and get me over my tendency to panic when a "mess" is being made. These projects are helping every one of those things and making us a closer family. One of the best things I've ever done!

The Teacher's Wife said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks for commenting on the praying mantis egg case post! I smiled when you said you bought the ladybug land a while back because I bought the same one!! :) My son always catches ladybugs & pillbugs during the summer, but they always end up getting lost in the cracks in my cages! Cant wait till he sees it on his birthday this year!! :)
Crystal @

Tiny Temper said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

That heart looks great :-)

I used to love doing crafty stuff with my two when they were small and I still have boxes of their collages and decorations in the attic. It's much more fun than doing housework! :-)