For house-proud parents than simply cannot stand the thought of mess, there are no two words in the English language that strike quite the same fear into the hearts as arts and crafts. Just the very mention of such things conjures up images of soiled carpets, splattered walls and the kind of mayhem that really has no place in the usually-pristine modern home you’ve worked so hard to make nice and clean.
But here’s the thing – to deprive kids of any age the opportunity to get good and messy with craft supplies would be a tragedy to say the least. It’s one of life’s true pleasures when you’re growing up and can be a wonderful thing for nurturing new talents, encouraging strong development and making sure they don’t spend too much of their lives in front of the TV.
There is, however, a solution…or at least a partial solution…as according to the experts at Handy Hippo Crafts, the mess and mayhem need never get entirely out of hand. It all comes down to your approach and attitude, so here’s a quick overview of their top tips for minimising stress while allowing the kids to have all the fun in the world with arts and crafts:
1 – Be Realistic
First of all, there’s nothing that can send a rather large onion right into the ointment quite like unrealistic expectations going into things. The reason being that of course there’s going to be some mess and of course you cannot expect things to go as planned – they very rarely do! By contrast, if you accept ahead of time that things are going to get messy and to a large extent embrace the mess as part of the fun, you’ll have a much better time. By contrast, freak out every time you see a spot on the table and it’s going to be an unmitigated nightmare.
2 – Preventative Measures
One of the best ways of minimising mess and mayhem is to think about preventative measures as opposed to how you’re going to clean up afterwards. For example, it’s a great idea to put down a large sheet of plastic to cover the carpets all around the table you designate for craft use – you could even layer the table itself in plastic, or wrap it in cling film. And of course, make sure than anything you simply cannot risk getting soiled is well and truly out of paint flicking and splattering distance – chances are the kids will be aiming for it!
3 – Clean As You Go
When and where possible, try to keep things as clean and tidy as possible as you go along. This doesn’t mean getting wholly worked up about the whole thing and freaking out at the tiniest speck on the table, but at the same time you’ll have a much better experience overall if you minimise the carnage you’ll have to deal with after each session.
4 – Choose Washable Products
A very very important tip indeed is that of only ever buying high quality arts and crafts products that are not only 100% safe for kids to use, but ideally washable to boot. There will always be certain bits and pieces that are guaranteed to ruin your carpets and upholstery if applied in lavish doses, but at the same time there are so many examples of washable glues, paints and other such products that you can use with no real fear of the consequences. It’s a case of finding a reputable supplier that sells only the best products in the business and making sure that the products you choose are certified as safe for use by kids.
5 – Everything In Its Place
Last but not least, it’s always a good idea for the sake of your own sanity and to instil good habits in the kids themselves to make sure that everything has its own designated place. It’s all too easy for an arts and crafts area to become cluttered and chaotic if everything you use is simply thrown into one big box or shoved into some random cupboard somewhere. By contrast, when everything has its own specified place things become much easier and more pleasant to handle, while the kids get a lesson in keeping things neat and tidy.
In any and all cases, arts and crafts can be uniquely beneficial for kids when it comes to nurturing their talents, inspiring creativity and generally getting them away from the trappings of technology. And with such an array of benefits to speak of, a bit of mess here and there is hardly an unfair price to pay.