I hope you are thinking what I am usually thinking when I see kids playing with toys handcrafted by their mom: What a good mother…I hate her guts. But here’s the thing about crafts in my house. I like doing art projects with the kids — and because I’m working part-time now I can do more of them than I used to — but I like finishing art projects a whole lot more. In other words, when I’m flipping through a book like Heather Swain’s excellent Make These Toys: 99 Clever Creations Using Everyday Items, my motive is purely selfish. This is what I’m thinking: What project can we do that requires minimum investment on the front-end, but will keep the girls occupied and out of sight for a huge chunk of time on the back-end, preferably during dinner prep hour, so I can listen to that Vampire Weekend song with the F-bomb in the first verse and enjoy my Dark & Stormy without interruption? (more…)
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Tags:cereal box crafts·crafts for kids·Fox Run craftstsmen·heather swain book·make these toys book
This post really has no business being on this blog — except for the fact that Paper Doll Command Central happens to be at the kitchen table, especially during long stretches of unscheduled spring breaks. You are looking at Alexandra and Claire, two paper dolls in my daughters’ collection of about three hundred (each with her own name). It works like this: the kids tell me what kind of doll they want me to draw, I do my best to sketch it (not always with grand success; they are still making fun of my attempt at Juliana, a half-princess, half-horse), then they are in charge of coloring, cutting, naming, then (most important) playing with them. I find if I put in a good thirty minutes with them on it, they disappear for hours, diving into elaborate adventures through imaginary worlds. And then I am free to make dinner.
During a looong snow day last year, I bought some poster board at the local stationery store and drew a few scenes for them. They lined up their poster boards in the living room and had the characters jump from place to place and room to room. My favorite, of course, was the restaurant, decorated with real photographs.
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Tags:crafts for kids·kitchen craft·kitchen playdate·paper dolls·recession dollhouse