Calling my house “Kid Craft Central” last week would not be overstating things at all. So long as you do not have a frilly, Martha Stewart, ribbons and bows idea of crafting, that is.
The kind of crafting that went on in my house was of the duct tape, twine and cardboard box variety and it went on just about every day.
The conventional wisdom about crafting with kids says that such activities will make them better at math, improve their problem-solving skills, etc.
The things that went on in my house surely fit that bill. Plus, they provided that added element that always gets a craft project the “Mommy Seal of Approval” in my book – Peace and quiet for me.
Allow me to share two of our favorites.
Project 1 – Build a Spider Web.
This activity was inspired by an old episode of Curious George in which George constructs spider webs out of various materials. My boys had a female friend over for a play date and the three of them were having issues getting settled. I was tired of listening to them bemoaning the fact that there was “nothing to do” while sitting in an overstuffed room full of toys and Curious George came to mind. So, I suggested to the kids that they make a spider web in the doorway to the playroom. I provided scissors, duct tape, some yarn, a pile of rubber bands and a roll of string. Then I went to drink a cup of coffee and read the newspaper.
Project 2 – Make a TV.
No, wiring, welding or electronic anything involved here, until later, that is. I cut a square opening in the side of a cardboard box. Next, I drew some buttons on the front with a black Sharpie. Then, I took the cardboard square I had removed and cut that into a rectangle. Some more Sharpie work there, and viola, a remote control. My younger son got inside the “TV” and my husband and I took turns turning him “on and off” with the remote control while we were drinking coffee and reading the newspaper.
Project 2a – Transform the TV into a Video Gaming System.
I never dreamed that a cardboard box TV would have such shelf life, but it is still a focal point of the boys’ play, although it has gotten a few upgrades. Big brother took the lead on most of these, taping a shoebox to the top of the original box and informing us that he had added a DVR (Digital Video Recorder). Next, the boys dug up an old video game joystick and punched a hole in the side of the TV box for the joystick’s cord, thereby installing their video game. That prompted the addition of countless wires, the purpose of which remains unknown to me. I wasn’t really involved in what the kids were doing since I was drinking a cup of coffee and…wait for it…watching the Olympics.
And you thought I was boring.