Recently, Babble Voices writer Ana Roca Castro and Babble editor Dara Pettinelli traveled to Peru to launch a Cyber Sustainable Development Project. This was a collaborative work with Babble Cares, Johnson & Johnson, and LATISM. One part of the project involved setting up a cyber room which would allow community artisans to sell their naturally-dyed, hand woven textiles online, and to give children access to e-learning.
Among the amazing stories and photos that came out of that trip were some terrific images of kids using craft supplies that Dara had brought. Dara’s post and slideshow, A Crafty Way of Communicating: How I Bonded With Spanish-Speaking Kids in Peru and the Health Benefits of Art, really highlights how well we can all communicate by simply making things with our hands.
Certainly the crafts my kids and I make at home aren’t nearly as beautiful as the things made by the women in Patacancha, Peru. But we definitely feel the benefits of crafting in our house.
Some of my friends aren’t into crafting, and that’s cool. However, I’ve realized that some of my friends would be into crafting, except they’re afraid:
- That they’ll suck at crafting,
- That the house will end up looking like it’s been glitter-bombed, and/or
- Crafting will create more clutter because what the heck do you do with all
this crapthese charming items your kid just made?
Here’s my response:
- Yes, you might suck at crafting. The good news is that your kid will still think you’re amazing at it.
- Just don’t buy glitter.
- Make craft projects with a purpose, and give your projects away.
One of the things that makes me sad in January isn’t just that the holiday season is over and it’s time to put away all the decorations (which I don’t feel like doing). It’s that the best part of the holiday season is the generosity that comes over us all like a happy compulsion. We–families, schools, churches, communities–focus on helping those in need during the holidays. And that’s great. But the needs don’t go away on December 26.
Below are some ideas for craft projects that you can make with your kids, and give away. I’d love to hear your suggestions, too!
If you’re not sure where you can donate your projects, check out Project Linus (for blankets), ask your nearest church/temple/mosque if they have any programs, or check with the social worker or counselor at your kid’s school — they always seem to know everything.
1. Not Exactly A No-Sew Hat
This project was low-sew, but it was “no-sew” for the kids in my Brownie troop. Basically, I did some very minimal sewing (an edge and a seam) and then the kids did all the fringe-cutting and tying.
2. We Made Lots Of Hats
In an hour, our Brownie troop made 37 hats. Each girl kept one hat for herself and the rest were donated to a nearby school (but not the one the troop attends). The church our troop meets in already had a donation program in place, so we just delivered them to the church office.
3. LEGO Hair Clippies
This project involved hot glue, so I did that part. But the kids designed all the clips and dug through our LEGO bins to find the pieces they wanted. My kids gave these as Christmas gifts to their friends, but we kind of went overboard and have lots of extras. The extras will be donated to the school store, which raises general funds for their school.
4. Why Yes, I Am Wearing Legos In My Hair
I like how the silver LEGO studs really bring out my silver, um, “highlights.”
5. LEGO Lord Of The Rings
We also hot-glued LEGO pieces and little gems to ring bases, which are available at craft stores, to make LEGO rings.
I volunteer at our elementary school’s library a couple times a week, and the kids go BANANAS for bookmarks. Seriously, you’d think we were giving out Pixy Stix or something. Anyway, it’s not like our school has the money for bookmarks, so parents donate them. My Brownie troop used card stock to make bookmarks as gifts for their parents, and then we made some to donate to their school library.
The girls came up with all kinds of ways to decorate their bookmarks. Bookmarks are also a great way to use up other random craft supplies; we tied on bells, pom-poms, and used up scraps of ribbon and yarn I had accumulated. Related: fine motor skill practice for the win.