I have yet to meet a preschooler who doesn’t enjoy a craft. Glue, paper, glitter, paint, scissors, markers - all work together to get those little eyes shining with excitement of what they can create. But sometimes, the parents and teachers are a bit less enthusiastic about the mess that inevitably follows the fun.
SO, here are a handful of tips on how to pare down the messiness of craft time and ramp up the fun - for everyone!
1. Embrace the cotton swab
Cotton swabs have so many uses when it comes to crafts. One way to use them is to put a bit of white glue on a paper plate and have the kids dip a cotton swab in the glue and spread it on whatever you’re making. Cuts down on the kiddos squeezing out too much glue and is good for honing fine motor skills - win win! Another great use for cotton swabs is painting. Same basic theory as the glue and definitely keeps paint from flying in all directions.
2. Gather up a stash of smocks
One surefire way to make sure those cute clothes stay clean while still allowing kiddos to be creative is to have everyone don a smock. For you teachers, an easy to way to get a stash without breaking the bank is to ask the men in your church to donate their old button down or tee shirts, and if you’re a homeschool mama, simply ask your hubby for a worn out shirt or two for your kids. With the button down shirts, simply roll up the sleeves and put them on the kids backwards for full coverage.
3. Pick up some salt shakers
Glitter is a scary substance in the hands of an eager three year old with a project. But there are ways to keep the creativity going without having a glitter bomb go off. Enter the dollar store salt shaker. Whoever decided it was a good idea to sell glitter that was completely open on top or had huge holes in the shaker had never done a craft with a preschooler. So simply transfer the glitter into a salt shaker with smaller holes. Combine the salt shaker glitter with cotton swab glue and you’re on your way to an awesome craft time with hardly any mess afterwards!
4. Set up a scissor station
It can be a bit stressful to hand scissors to a whole group of kids (or even one toddler while you’re trying to keep an eye on other kids) and keep everyone safe and not have the craft projects come out looking like they went through a shredder. Instead, try setting up the kids with the coloring or sticker-ing part of the craft and then have them come to you, or a helper, one by one to do the scissoring part. That way, the ones who can handle scissors can do it by themselves with supervision, and those who need help will have it and stay safe.
So there you have it. I could honestly talk about craft time all day because I love to break out the craft supplies and make a project with my own son or my church preschool class. I hope these tips inspire you to get creative with the little ones in your life!