Friday, March 4, 2011

The Crafting Phase

It seems like raising multiples is all about phases. With the newborn and infant era we lived and breathed our schedule. Each day we got from feeding, diapering and sleeping to the next scheduled duty. As the triplets got older we made it into the terrible toddler phase and we mastered the art of the zone defense. Now, as we are deep into the kindergarten year, we have arrived at the crafting phase.

Gone are the rainy days of watching dvd's and playing with toys. Now these kids want to create and craft at any and every opportunity. Let me tell you a secret...Arts and Crafts are basically a free for all with glue, scissors, shards of papers, glitter, markers and various other objects. Doing craft projects is a damn mess. As much as I love making, baking and creating, crafting with four kids is pure torture. Most projects take ten minutes to do and require 30 minutes of clean up. This is the down side to having your own classroom at home.

I have recently learned the art of controlled crafting. This is where I set up an activity station and I stay close enough to the table to manage the chaos. I remove all materials that are not associated with that days activity, and I minimize the potential for disaster. Minimizing the risk is essential here. I am risk adverse when it comes to my kitchen classroom.

This is one example of my controlled craft project

called crappy looking tee shirt design. I bought myself a good hour and a half of crafting time with these. Look at these tee shirts I found at Jo Ann Fabrics. These are plain t-shirts with a coloring book style print on the front. These featured different Disney characters and scenes, were less than $5 and can be personalized with sharpie markers. I stuck a piece of cardboard between the fabric layers, and the kids

spent the good portion of an hour coloring in, on and around the lines.

I consider this a two birds, one stone kind of deal. These are shirts are perfect for camp, play dates at the park, or for use as sleep shirts with various pj bottoms. I give this project two thumbs up for simplicity and practical use.

The only potential downside is the lesson in using markers on clothing is only for this particular craft. Under no circumstances are markers to be used on regular clothing. I am fairly certain I drilled that message into their minds. We have had mind boggling sharpie marker incidents in the past and we all have that episode burned on our brains.Who could forget Eli, the blue sharpie smurf?

So welcome to the crafting phase. There are lessons to be learned everywhere.

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