Crafts for a three-year-old?

I just ordered Sophie’s first gingerbread house. Last week I bought her beads. I am afraid that I have become the mom who pushes my child to do age-inappropriate crafts that are dangerously consumeristic — but, really, Sophie loves to bead, and the neat elastic-band-beading-string we have doesn’t require a needle. Actually, the truth is that I don’t know any really great age-appropriate crafts, other than coloring or painting, which gets old. I suppose we could string macaroni and fruitloops together, or try some of these toddler crafts. I tried to teach her to make beads from rolled-up magazine triangles, but that was too advanced. I tried to make home-made pretzel-dough and twist it into fun shapes, but she wasn’t as interested as I am — and her day-of-the-dead sugar-skull was mostly made by her Dad. Still, that’s not stopping me from planning a cookie-baking day for this Friday.

Dear readers, can you help me learn better age-appropriate crafts?

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5 responses to “Crafts for a three-year-old?

  1. karla

    play-doh? E loves it. nevermind that he smooshed all the colors together.

  2. elewinnek

    My mother (E961) has asked me to post her very thoughtful comment about this:

    As always, Elaine, your blog was intriguing and makes me remember what I had forgotten or misplaced in my mind.

    First are the crafts for you or for Sophie?

    Second, a little like a Montessori classroom, you provide the materials and Sophie will design the activity. An art box of stuff for collage–leaves, fabric, stickers, all sorts of items from office supply places, good, safe glue, cardboard, tissue paper, scraps of wrapping paper, boxes, empty toilet paper rolls and so on and on. What happened to the buttons?

    String has amazing possibilities, although David exhausted most of them before he switched to levers and rockets, and I never suggested levers or rockets

    And then lots of paper suitable for drawing. Are those Ed Emberly books that show in pictures how to turn a circle into a snake and a box into an elephant still around? Maybe styles differ these days? And maybe this is too advanced just now.

    Somewhere I saw a book titled something like 50 Things to do with a Paperbag. I’m sure there are at least 200, but paper bags aren’t so plentiful these green days.

    Maybe Sophie prefers dancing, singing or dreaming to crafts. And you and Ben know that the best amusement for a toddler is another toddler on somewhat the same wavelength.

    I may have already told you the most astounding activity in the dvd Babies was the Tibetan toddler on the floor of his family’s yurt playing with legos, the colors of which reflected those of the handsome,complex weavings covering the walls and furniture.

  3. elewinnek

    It turns out that I do know some age-appropriate crafts. This Thursday, while I chatted on the phone with my relatives, Sophie amused herself by placing dozens of decorative band-aids on her bed “for good dreams.”

    Then, on Friday, she rediscovered her box of “jewels” (rhinestones ripped off of various gifts) and spent a verrrrrrrry long time gluing those rhinestones onto paper.

    We are also exploring the pastiche possibilities of cut-up birthday cards, along with my quilting scraps. Next time I’m at the store, I’m going to look for tissue-paper and construction-paper, because I think she is reaching a collage phase — and those feel less consumeristic than the other craft things I’m trying to avoid.

    Sophie is also old enough to smoosh wet toilet paper into balls, which, after they dry, will be glued into little paper snowmen. It was good to remember that craft.

    But I still welcome other suggestions. Sophie moved her art-table into her room and loves to spend hours there: I just want to keep interesting materials in rotation on that table, without falling into ruts or into overconsumption, or into over-directed play either.

  4. Tory

    Hi Elaine! I go through this with Mila. We just checked out two very cute books from the library for kid crafts with LOTS of great ideas. Most of them need some parental oversight, but they are fun. They also do some fun weaving and plastic needle beed and raffia type yarning at school that Mila likes. Otherwise I leave buttons, stickers, glitter glue, tape, scissors, and other trinkets from Michaels or JoAnnes or the local fabric store, or odds and ends from around the house and let Mila go wild. It doesn’t matter what they make, its just the process. Good luck!

  5. Pingback: Advent « Elaine’s blog

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