Shopping with kids isn’t easy. Shopping in a tiny, visually wonderful craft shop can be nutty, unless you are prepared!
My preschooler (age 4) loves making stuff. And the key to keeping up his interest is to involve him in every step of the process. Even if that means bringing him along to the craft shop…I like to shop with him, but fabric, art and craft stores are overwhelming even for me. So when I bring him along, I go with a plan.
First, I spend some prep time at home planning the project. (That’s right, a successful shopping experience starts *before* you hit the stores.) This creates the groundwork for why we are going to the store and what supplies we will need. It also helps set the expectation and maintain focus.
Next we head to the store. I lead my son to the 5″ x 5″ cloth “charms” and let him pick the ones he wants for the project. He already sort of understands what we are doing, but I really don’t know if that guides his decision making process! I always go for the pre-cut stuff when I shop with the kids, having to wait for fabric to get cut can be asking too much. Plus the pre-cut stuff limits our choice and so reduces overwhelm. So the second step is to have something hands-on to engage your child once you get to the store.
After picking the cloth, I became absorbed in my own shopping, but then things started to get a little dicey. He was becoming restless and looking for something to do. I remembered the button jar. Phew! Choosing buttons successfully redirected his attention and kept him occupied. Again, keeping him with a hands-on, purposeful activity is key.
Third, let them unleash their creativity right there in the store. Of course you can’t just let your kid pick stuff to buy left and right! So I created a mini project. I suggested that he arrange the buttons on the fabric he picked, with the promise that we’d sew them on later. This really engaged him. He even put a few buttons back that he decided “didn’t work” with his fabric or design.
The shopping trip was a success! I found the supplies I needed and managed to make it fun for my preschooler. It is important to me that he enjoys these outings, and as we left he was full of excitement about our project.
Here are his creations!
Keep it simple, make it fun! Do you have any tips on making craft shopping experiences successful with kids? Leave a comment and let me know.