Kids Crafts Vs. The Neat Freak Mom

Does anybody else have a kid (or kids) that LOVE all things messy crafty? Projects became a big deal in our home was when my oldest daughter turned 5. As her love for glitter, cutting up paper, and tape have grown over the past several months, her 3 year old sister quickly became obsessed too. Almost daily I get asked if I have a “project” or “craft” that they can make. When I pull out the paper and crayons, they don’t hesitate to let me know that isn’t exactly what they had in mind.

I’ve come up with a few crafts for them, but have found myself micromanaging the way they tape things together. Or hovering over them as they paint a circle. The OCD tendencies in me has a hard time letting them have control over THEIR vision. One day it hit me that I could be damaging their creativity from fully blossoming. Who cares if their paper hat doesn’t look the way that I would make it? I decided that I needed to take a step back, grit my teeth, and let them enjoy the art of creating whatever their heart desires.

Our tub of mess making, crafty things!

Our tub of mess making, crafty things!

We recently took a trip to the Dollar Store with some of their left over Christmas money and picked out a few necessary crafting items. It was the time of their life. Going up and down the aisles and getting to pick out things to buy was so much fun for them. It made me smile to see how happy they were as they were already planning for multiple projects. After we got home, I gathered our new supplies (and added a few things that we had at home: straws, old magazines, kid scissors, dixie cups, and water colors) and put it all into one container. With a lid. That I could hide.

The next day, they were chomping at the bit to makeover our counter with their creations. Before I could think about the mess, I got out the tub and let them get busy. They worked and worked and worked on multiple projects for a good hour before I finally said that we needed to start cleaning up. (Of course, that announcement didn’t go over so well.) And clean up took almost just as long… beads all over the floor, small pieces of paper all over the place, tape stuck to places that I couldn’t imagine.


When it’s all said and done, it doesn’t matter that nothing looks perfect. What matters is that my girls beam with pride when they look at what they thought up and created. And I beam with pride when I see that sense of accomplishment across their faces. I’m thankful that I was able to pull back and let them have fun with a tub full of mess making items. The items in the tub will change as I find new things to add, but the tub itself will be sticking around for quite awhile. As will their creations…. because I have no idea where to put some of them!

Do you have a hard time letting your kids get crafty?  How do you let go?

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