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Indulging in DIY Arts & Crafts can be a lot of fun and can help your little one develop their creativity and widen their imagination. Creative play is very important for healthy brain development But putting together DIY projects can also be slightly time-consuming for busy Mummies. So,we brought on board DIY-pro and Mom blogger, KinshooAgrawal, to help us improve our DIY game and work on some exciting yet easy projects.
Kinshoo is a marketing whiz, blogger and full-time Mummy to her adorable son. She always had a passion for arts &crafts but felt her hobby fading away due to work and other commitments. After becoming a Mummy, she rediscovered her love for DIY crafts along with her son and now shares this love with others through her blog: https://momlearningwithbaby.wordpress.com/
This week, she’s here to share her wonderful tips and ideas on how to encourage DIY craft activities among kids.
Q. Hi Kinshoo! Thanks for contributing to ‘Voice of Moms’. Can you start by telling us a little about your family?
Ans. My husband and I are currently living the expat life in UAE with our son. Although we are away from our family, we do have a few Indian friends and some others belonging to different nationalities as well. Expat life is filled with both challenges and opportunities. We’re trying our best to balance them and provide the best for our son.
Q. What kind of activities, both indoor and outdoor, do you usually enjoy with your childand why do you love DIY crafts?
Ans. Ever since he turned one, our son started enjoying water colours, especially hand and foot painting. As he grows, we are learning to use crayons and sketch pens as well. He also enjoys sticking crafts,cardboard crafts and clay-doh. Our outdoor activities mostly include cycling, football, playing with friends in the park, blowing bubbles, and trips to the super market and cake shop. The reason I love DIY crafts is that it lets us explore our imaginative side. Sometimes my boy asks me to make something and then we both try something new. It’s so much fun, there’s so much to learn, so many memories and art works to preserve. Easy availability is my favorite reason.
Q. What are some of the reasons that you think kids benefit from DIY activities?
Ans. DIY activities are hands-on learning tools where there is no limit on learning and creativity. In addition, when the child creates or builds something on his own, he develops a sense of achievement (I love that grin on my boy’s face) and confidence. It also helps refinesensory, motor and reasoning skills. Mainly, it gives you endless opportunities as you are not totally dependent on supplies/tools nor bound by a particular outcome.
Q. What are some of the impactful changes and improvements that you have seen in your kid’s overall personality and intellectual/emotional development through DIY activities?
Ans. My boy is a hyperactive kid and crafts/colouring calms him down and has made him more patient (I use them as my biggest distraction tools). His logical reasoning and understanding of practical aspects has improved because of crafts such as parking and parking meter, magic milk, clay-doh etc. He enjoys working on crafts and colouringat school as well. He loves to show off his master piece(s) to everyone in the family.
Q. How impactful have these DIY activities been in strengthening the bond between you and your toddler?
Ans. We both love the time that we spend working on DIY projects, although sometimes it becomes difficult to make him understand why he needs to wait till the colour dries or why he can’t throw coloured rice on floor or paint a cow red (FACEPALM moment); but I supposeit’s a great learning curve for both of us (especially when it comes to patience and tolerance). I’ve realized it’s better to focus less on the outcome and more on the process. The end result is that I have a happy kid who learned something new or simply entertained himself.
Q. Whenever you plan a DIY activity do you have a certain aim in mind or a specific learning that you want to impart to your kid? Can you share some examples?
Ans. When I plan to teach him shapes using felt and foam shapes, I usually repeat the names of the shapes while sticking the felt or fixing the foam on the respective places, so that he gets an idea of, for example, what is a circle – both name and shape. DIY jigsaw puzzles help improve hand-eye coordination and visual-perceptive skills. Of course, I keep the level of expectation as ZERO, so as not to pressurize either of us and mostly enjoy the exercise, which is my main aim behind DIY – FUN LEARNING. Repetitions and continuous practice help. Kids surprise us with their grasping skills and often show off their wisdom when you least expect them to.
Q. Can you share your top 3 DIY craft ideas for toddlers?
Ans. Felt book, clay-doh and cardboard crafts have always been my favorite – endless possibilities, easy-to-make, low cost, minimum efforts and most important –no heart-breaks when your toddler tears them apart.
Q. What are some easy DIY craft activities that parents can try with their little kids, using objects that can be easily found in one’s home?
Ans. Tissue rolls, tissue boxes, cardboard boxes, cereal boxes, foam sheets, thermocol sheets, plastic bottles/cups, popsicles/sticks, pom poms, paper plate crafts– I have begun hoarding such items.
Using these, one can construct all kinds of things - elephants, fish, octopus, dinosaurs, lions, shapes, alphabets, cars, houses, face masks, puppets - you imagine it and you can make it.
Even old cloths can be used to make activity books. If nothing is available, freeze his favorite dinosaur (or any animal) and let him discover the buried dino.
The magic milk experiment is also easy to do. Just drop food colour in milk, dip a cotton swab in dish soap and touch the colours; you will love the way thecolours explode in the milk and form patterns.
Slime, clay-doh, cloud dough can be prepared at home with recipes available online. Just keep a few basic stationary items handy like good scissors, glue, tape, colors, colored papers, brushes, etc. and you can make anything.
Get involved with your child and don’t expect him/her to be fascinated all the time, a DIY might be a let-down sometimes. Most importantly – BE PREPARED FOR A MESS!! Patience and tolerance are the keys for DIY activities with young kids. They might get over excited or not excited at all.
Planning a DIY and executing it successfully are two entirely different things. Things might turn out as you expected or rather imagined them to be (see the picture. for example – he is more interested in the green dino than the lion mask). Thus, the focus should be on learning and having fun.
Q. What is your little one’s favorite DIY activity?
Ans. Water colors are his favourite; hand and foot painting has always been a hit. He loved the magic milk experiment and wanted to do it every day.
Q. According to you, what are the top 3 reasons Moms & Dads should engage in more DIY craft activities with their kids?
Ans. The top reason is the memories that we create in those moments. When I look at those tiny handprints, dinosaur and duck, I re-live those magic minutes of pure bliss. Secondly, the child learns more through observation and experimentation. When he rolls a clay ball or drops a ball through a tissue roll, he understands the concepts and cause-effect in a more practical manner. He becomes more aware of his senses and refines his fine motor and sensory skills. Thirdly, DIY is like Free-Play where the child is set free to practice his fantasies and ideas. We don’t need to raise book-worms; we should nurture thinkers, inventors, visionaries. And that is what exactly the DIYs intend to foster, subtly.