Thursday, July 25, 2013

Accepting Craft Explosions

We made this doll house out of a little bookshelf turned upside down.  Add some cardboard for a roof and dividing walls and the girls each have their own side (I made a platform for the littlest girl and put all her furniture together.  The older two did their own painting and decorating.)
 Okay, so It's a little stressful to live in a tiny place with so much crafting and playing happening.  On one level I totally love the creativity flowing everywhere, but when the baby steps in the paint and tracks purple blots across the dinning room and the husband is faced away toward his computer to be able to "handle" the mess (by avoiding looking at it) -- well, it can just get a little stressful.  The kids were SO enthusiastic and kept adding and painting and playing and fixing up their little "apartments" and even today (4 days later) they are still making little things here and their to go with their doll house.  My oldest has just learned to crochet a chain so she can make scarves for her Woodzees and they got some crafts from Gramma in the mail yesterday with little foam dragonflies and butterflies that they've enjoyed making and sticking to their house.

I read an article the other day called 12 ways to spark creativity in your child and got to thinking how much more important that is than academics at this point.  I naturally WANT to do creative stuff on my own and with my kids so being reminded to do something I already am good at and want to do is actually more helpful than you'd think.  See, our culture pushes academics so young- yet if you really think about it, they can totally catch up to where they need to be even at 12 years old if I don't do much of that now, but their creativity?  Creativity needs to be allowed to flow and move on it's own.  You can only teach this so much.  With their doll house my goal was to (not spend any money) to have a frame work so that they could create as much as possible on their own.  I handled the glue gun, but they chose colors and painted walls, floors and my oldest made doors and things out of pipe cleaners.  We had baskets of craft supplies out to decide what to put on the cardboard roof (feathers and coffee filters.)  I also happened to have peal and stick white board paper that they had fun with too.
Also, some paper umbrellas that were STILL leftover from our wedding  (9 years last Wednesday!) which the girls always love and match their woodzees animals well.

This is the 7 year old's side.  She said that whatever she drew on the white board walls "came to life" for them.

This is the toddlers side that I'm working on since she's too little to make much for it.

The 5 year old's side after the first day.

Roof and the other side of the doll house.

I thought I'd take a picture of what mostly "cleaned up" on average looks like.  Cleaning up before starting something else isn't easy you see because the creative juices are flowing!   When people wonder about homeschooling and worry about how they could keep up with house work with homeschooling --well.. I hate to break it to you, but you really can't.  I suppose you COULD if you could kick the kids outside or if they were older to actually be of more help, but teaching them to clean up after themselves is part of the school and being flexible enough to let them be crafty is more important than a clean house.  My perfectionist husband is stressed out by toys and clutter and crafts of all kinds.  He tries to hide how it bothers him and help as much as he can to clean up, but I can sense the stress when he gets home so I try to have the house somewhat manageable by dinner time if I can.  It's helpful to remind myself how important this is for them.

We made a swing set the next day.  (Note:  the girls and I brain storm out loud and I ask a lot of questions about what they'd like and we try stuff that doesn't always work.)

I've been having fun making tiny blankets and rugs for their house and hopefully inspire them to keep adding to it as well.  We've talked about adding an elevator to the doll house or spiral stairs.

Close up.

Dinning room/kitchen

Living room and flat screen tv?  I didn't get a good picture of it, but you can see it a bit at the bottom of this picture.  My oldest wove strips of paper to make "grass" and other ground features to go under and around the house.

The close up of the upstairs on the 5 year olds side.  She was so delighted that she could paint pictures on the walls

Playing with the toys.

My older girls practiced learning to knit this little scarf with some help from me.  They weren't quite ready for that yet though (though I must say that the 5 year old was a natural!  When she's a bit older she could totally take off with knitting)  They both liked crocheting better.  Especially the 7 year old who was discouraged with the knitting.  She made a few chains to be scarves for her Woodzees.
I've been reading about Temperaments lately and it's been quite helpful to learn about so that I can express more of what I need.  One thing that I've realized is that I need a lot of encouragement to know that what I do is valuable.  I don't need the "you are doing a great job" sort of encouragement because that just means nothing to me and only makes me embarrassed or nervous.  BUT to hear that what I do is valuable?  That it makes a difference?  Yeah, I need to hear a lot more of that.  I might seem confident, but I'm continually just trying to instill confidence in myself.  Is it worth it?  Is it valuable?  Yes.  The house will almost always be messy, but there's creativity flowing and it's all good.  :)

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