Wednesday, June 29, 2011
This "log cabin" is a classic. I merely handed over boxes of various sizes to Petrufied and she transformed them -- with the help of transparent tape, glue, scissors and rolled up pages of an old phone book -- into this fascinating plaything. Some kiddies had some fun with it, too.
I tried my hand at crafting simple playthings out of what normally would be considered "junk," like old magazines. There are stacks of glossies at home which, though, still leafed through occasionally, would probably be better off discarded.
But it can be difficult to part with old magazines, even if many of them were acquired at huge discounts (think Booksale and Filbars). So, I got some of them and worked the scissors!
You can do the same with your kids for a few hours of creative fun. Sure, they may have their coloring books, drawing paper and jigsaw puzzles. Toys that whir, light up, beep and make all sorts of fascinating sounds may be part of the lot, too. But it's good to give them opportunities to develop their imagination by helping them see that almost anything can be transformed into play -- and playthings.
Magazines are there to be read and to learn from, but viewed a different way, they can be the stuff of paper hats, boats and even jewelry!
Fashioning some paper necklaces and bracelets for your little girls can also be turned into a teachable moment when it comes to discussing femininity, doing things at the proper time and related issues. How? Let's say a child wants to put on makeup or wear high heels just like mom and other adult women she sees. If you don't really care about the child, you'll let her do anything she wants. She may put shadow on her eyelids, demand a pair of heeled mules or don blinding bling when you go out, and you give in to her and hardly bat an eyelash. But if you genuinely care that she grow up into a fine young woman with a solid character and sound values, you'll take time to explain to her things she needs to understand -- like how certain things are done at the proper time.
While cutting up these magazine pages and linking them into a chain for a pretty necklace, you can tell her that while you have your pearls and other precious stones in your jewelry box, little girls like her can wear children's jewelry, which you're making right now. There are, after all, things to look forward to, like wearing makeup and jewelry, going out on dates, holding down a job, paying bills, getting married, raising children... (though I wouldn't call paying bills something to look forward to, but you get the picture) while for the present, being a child is what is for her to do! When the right time comes, those other things -- grown-up things -- will be part of her life as well.
So, for the moment, it's paper necklaces and bracelets she'll enjoy making and wearing, and she can even choose what part of the comics page she'll make for her jewelry!
Some tips: do assist the child if she's still too young to handle a pair of scissors properly. We don't want any cuts as a result of this crafting session! And, since little hands are still mastering those fine motor skills, some paper strips may end up being uneven and being linked together in crooked ways. That's alright! Though anything worth doing is worth doing well, I think the more important aim in this case is having fun with your little one while imparting invaluable lessons during the fun. Also, even if the jewelry pieces are far from perfect, your child won't mind if you won't. But if you praise her for her efforts and a job well done, she's sure to remember it.