I had a Sunday School teacher that told us to color things the way they really are, but to a 5 year old that was more of a restriction than an encouragement. I didn’t purposely mis-color things. In my mind I was just making the picture pretty, and why couldn’t the tree be a beautiful purple?
I hang on to that memory for times when my children are crafting and I think, “Why did they make that so silly?” To them it might not be silly; it might be beautiful. As the mom, I have had to learn to let them make their craft what they want it to be; to wait until they asked for help.
I also hang on to that memory for when I’m teaching 3-5 year olds. It’s more important for the craft to be created by them than for all the lines to be straight and the pieces to match perfectly. After one or two times of telling the 3 year old that he can’t cut he won’t even try the next time. It’s not always easy for me to let them present a glue saturated, crinkled paper to their parents; but the pride of creating is easy to see on their face. The parents would rather see something their child has obviously done themselves, rather than something the teacher stuck together. And wouldn’t you feel the same?
I’ve found that crafting with little ones is a whole different ball of wax. It’s not about the “oh so cute” end product. It’s about the journey, the time together, the talk & laughter, the learning, and the joy of creating.
So take a break from your life inside the lines, get a bunch of newspaper to cover the table, and let them craft away. You’ll make memories for years to come – along with a big mess, but you can clean that up later.
Do your children like to color outside of the lines of what we think of as “normal”?