Crafty Family Fun

17 Mar

I love spring, for some reason it brings out the creativeness within me, which is then passed on to the children for good measure.

Out of my two eldest children (these being Little man AKA a boy with aspergers and Alice-Sara his younger sister of 2 and a half years) its Alice-Sara who has always been the one most keen to embark on any creative projects, whether this be drawing and painting, or making something from odds and ends.

My youngest, Harley, a very energetic toddler of 2, has already displayed a fondness for crafting. He loves everything from finger painting to gluing and sticking (basically, anything messy).

Little man is extremely creative when it comes to ideas, poems and LEGO creations. He draws plans for designs, but doesn’t actually enjoy putting pencil to paper, he would much rather do everything on a computer if given the opportunity! The Use of Colour is something else his always struggled with! Given the choice, he will do everything in black and white! Little man does have many difficulties, not just with his gross but also his fine motor skills. His lack of control over his fine motor skills causes him difficulties when colouring or painting a picture as he struggles to remain within the lines, and being a bit of a perfectionist, he will normally just reframe from the activity all together!

Over the last few weeks, myself and the toddler have found ourselves elbow deep in paint, glue, goggly eyes, pipe cleaners and everything else you could possibly think of! Since discovering his enjoyment for such activities, I’ve found it a great way to interact and spend lots of mother and son time, enjoying each others company while the two older children are at school (before I know it, he’ll be in that place soon too, and I want to enjoy my toddler being a toddler for as long as possible).

Having been on a creative crafty high these past few weeks (trust me, we’ve made everything from Easter Baskets to sock puppets) I was delighted to hear from the lovely team at Baker Ross.

Baker Ross have an online Aladdin’s Cave, filled to the brim with everything you’ll ever need to get crafting, plus loads of undiscovered treasures. I love it over there, so, I’m obviously delighted to be part of their network of bloggers.

Yes, this makes complete sense, as not only do I love their stuff (I could quite honestly spend hours browsing their online store) but I love to craft, bead, draw and paint with or without the help of the children. I also believe that by encouraging little man to express more of his inner creativity, he will benefit greatly! This could also help improve his fine motor skills and he may well benefit in a therapeutic type of way too.

A few weeks back, a smiley delivery man brought me a box that put me in a crafty mood. Inside there were Daffodil windmill kits, a pot of pre-cut foam to create 3D flower pots, a very funky key ring making kit and the toddlers favourite, a kit to make an array of Pom-Pom bugs.

Although, I love to use the magic of imagination when thinking of, or working on a project, it was quite pleasing  how these were all kits with an intended purposes. So, instead of being sent craft supplies which I’d spit up and use within varying projects, I actually had some pre-planed tasks to embark on with the children.

Now, I’ll start with the Miniature 3d flowerpot kits, which sadly was mine and that of the children’s least favourite! Basically, you get a pot of foam pieces all pre-cut into the required shapes…. Flower heads, steams, leafs, flower-pot etc. The instructions are Ok, though some sections needed to be read twice. The only additional material that was required to create these foam flower pots, was some silicone glue (clear in colour). My daughter found this most fidley and it was frustrating to glue the bits on and then have to wait around for each bit to dry, it really wasn’t productive. Little Man attempted it for all of 2 minutes and this really wasn’t appropriate for the toddler. The leafs wouldn’t stick correctly to the stems as these were to thin, gluing each part, pressing firmly than waiting to dry before attempting another section, was the only way forward. What would have been perfect is, if the foam was self adhesive, otherwise this just ended up a bit of a gluey mess. I did however have some double-sided tape tabs which I cut and gave the children to use. This worked out a little better, though it was still not perfect. Once these had been assembled, they looked quite groovy. In the end we just made a selection without leafs, though they were all pretty much leafless by the end ! The fact these are made of foam meant they would be easy to customise and decorate if desired (I’d highly recommend some little gem studs applied to the petals for a pretty finish).

 Next up were the Brilliant Bug Pom-Pom kits: These were the toddlers favourite, and if I’m honest, mine too. Harley, the toddler, was able to help me with these and did so for over an hour, which passed the time nicely. The best thing about these, is the fact each kit (bug) comes in its own bag which is absolutely brilliant, means they could be used for party bags etc. The Pom-Pom bugs are dead simple to make, with easy to follow instruction, these look really effective. Each bag contains instructions, goggly eyes, the required amount of Pom-Poms for the Bug you’re making and pre-cut foam pieces for body, wings, etc

All you do is glue the pieces together as shown on the instructions. We did cheat and on certain sections we used double-sided tape! This was purely because Harley wanted to play with them right away, he isn’t the most patient child, but then again, what 2-year-old is?

I particularly loved the Lady Bird we made, what with its massive goggly eyes and big smile. My toddler Harley, loved the completed Bugs, he honestly sat playing with them for hours (a cheap Christmas 2012 for me then, I hope)!

Check out the picture I took of the Lady Bird with a completed caterpillar alongside the foam flowerpots I told you about first.

Daffodil Windmill Kits (10 kits per pack) were next on the list. These were made by my daughter and my good friend Donna. This crafting activity also came in their own packaging so great for gifts, especially Easter ones. These, I wouldn’t recommend for younger children, the instructions were not the easiest I’d ever seen, so, was in agreement when my friend blamed the instructions rather than herself, when she got the first windmill very wrong.🙂 What’s more, there is no clear description of what way the pieces should be fitted and quite obviously my daughter did become a tad frustrated. However, on a more positive note, the overall quality of the windmills is absolutely brilliant. They do start of a bit stiff, but after a while loosen up allowing them to spin as they should. These are made from good quality card and they would look fabulous stood in some flower pots next to the daffs.

These are kinda like constructing a gift from a Kinda egg, only bigger. Children are not really required to use their imagination on any kind of level, as it’s basically a step by step construction process that I guess some children will feel proud to have completed. As nice as these look, I do personally like my windmills with some personal touches, so I think I’ll be getting the kids to decorate these with some sparkle.

Now up in-till this point, its fair to say that I was unsuccessful at getting Little man (my eldest who has Aspergers Syndrome) engaged in any of the above. He just wasn’t interested! Then came the wonderful Super Shrink keyring kit and that was it, he found something he wanted to have a bash at!

Little man must have seen the potential as I was a little confused at how the kit we had been provided with, could possible make keyrings.

The kit contains lots of keyring attachments, 5 mini packets of colouring pencils and lots of plastic sheeting (size of a standard photo).

Seems like a strange selection of supplies, wouldn’t you agree? It was only once I had taken a look at the instructions, that I realised how these worked and was both impressed and intrigued by the idea! Basically what you need to do is, take one of the plastic sheets and draw your design (any design) on the rough side. You need to ensure you leave enough room to hole punch the design and cut around it. Once cut and complete, heat up the oven and then place your design inside (with the help of a grownup helper) Leave in the oven for 2-4 minutes, remove and leave to cool! What actually happens is the plastic shrinks and becomes thicker, the colours (if used) become somewhat darker, though, I still found the supplied pencils to appear way to light, so Little man used markers instead, which worked really well. Once cool, you simply add the keyring attachment through the hole that was punched before the design was cut and baked.

As previously mentioned, Little man isn’t big on colour, his actually not keen on drawing (unless it’s a simple bus design or that of a hotel plan)! With this he instead opted for a simple design, a quote as opposed to a drawing. He enjoyed this activity so much that he started making keyrings for all his teachers and staff at his school, he even made one for the cab driver and escort, each with its own personalised message.

This was a great idea, it’s a fantastic idea to get children on the autism spectrum to display their feelings for others (which many find hard to express).

Above a selection of Little Man’s message keyrings to teachers and staff at his school. 

Little man loved the kit so much that he has told me that once these are all used up, I’m to order him some more, bless him.

If you love crafting with your kids, check out these creative kits and loads of other fabulous arts and crafts materials, over on the Baker Ross website.

2 Responses to “Crafty Family Fun”

  1. jessica whitehead-stevens (@jessws2011) March 18, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    wow they look like so much fun to do


  1. Cubby Love « A boy with Asperger's - March 19, 2012

    […] Crafty Family Fun ( Share this:FacebookRedditStumbleUponDiggEmailTwitterLinkedInTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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