I had a very difficult night with my son! I didn’t sleep from 12-4 am because he kept calling for me and seemed like he had a fever. He woke up early, feeling better though and the first thing he said was “I wanna make our project.” I’ve created a creative monster!
I am so happy that my son loves making crafts with me. Although we used to do the occasional craft, he has begun asking to make things almost everyday. While he is very eager to make something, there are three keys to helping the project run smoothly: structure, division of labor and flexibility.
Here’s how we completed a project I call the “No monster’s pjs under the bed.” And yes, I am trying to encourage my son to put his pajamas away neatly–you saw right through that one I bet. 🙂
To structure the activity, talk about what you will make, what supplies you’ll need and what you’ll do.
To make our monster we needed eyes, nose, ears, mouth, spikes and spots. I drew lines on the paper and labeled each area.
Then he drew the parts. He didn’t want to draw them free hand but was happy to trace different shapes. This totally depends on your child and his or her interests. Have lots of stuff handy to inspire and facilitate the process. It’s important to make the craft accessible to your child.
After all the shapes are made you can cut them out to make simple patterns for eyes, ears, etc.
Using scissors is a preschool skill and he loves to cut paper and fabric. (Use caution to avoid accidents and also be careful as to what gets cut.)
Division of labor. Preschoolers want to do everything by themselves. Be clear about what your jobs are as the grown up while giving your little creative wonder as much responsibility as possible. The more they are allowed to do the more fun they have and the longer the project stays interesting.
Be flexible! I always learn as I go. Just when I think a project will go one way, there it runs off in a totally different direction. So we diligently drew/ traced our monster features, cut them out…and then he started losing interest–ah such a familiar theme! What he really wanted was to cut the fabric. So I figured, why not? I ditched the pattern and let him cut away. I also had to ditch my expectation for what the monster would look like.
He cut the nose, while I cut out the eyes. He made a tiny mouth, but then laughed and said “No, a monster needs a BIG mouth.”
So this is how we ended up working on creating this monster together. Structure was important but in the end, flexibility was essential to divide our labor and ultimately combine our efforts. We laid out the features, and I embellished them, adding nostrils and layering the mouth, then I added a little flower. The thought of the monster eating a flower made him chuckle.
Now he tosses around the plump, pj-stuffed monster by day and sleeps with the flat as pancake monster at night. He hides cars in its secret back pocket, and loves to talk about how scary it looks –and it does actually look scary in the dark! eeek!
Each monster can be so unique. Please share your inspiring ideas for making your own creative monster!