Happy Monday readers! First, I want to thank you for your continued readership and support. I enjoy sharing with you each week the things that I’m learning, experiencing, or thinking. I enjoy hearing from my readers, whether that be to answer questions, follow up with more details, or explore a topic of your suggestion.
Now, you might be asking why I’m posting on a Monday. Great question! From time to time, I’ll post mid-week to answer questions about previous posts, or possible even just to share new, random information that can’t wait until Friday. If by chance you didn’t get to read last Friday’s post, you can find it here: Why Earth Day is For You Too
On to today… I’m posting in response to a few questions. First, welcome new reader Natalie! Thank you for asking me to explain a little more about the finger paint Theo and I made together in the post, Take That, Pinterest! Here is the recipe:
Toddler Finger Paint
2 TB Sugar
1/3 C white flour
2 C water
♥Mix the sugar and flour in a saucepan. Then, whisk in the water and stir until smooth. Turn the heat on medium and continue to stir until the mixture has thickened to an appropriate “paint-like” consistency. Turn the heat off, and allow to cool 10-15 minutes.
♥When the mixture is a comfortable temperature to handle, divide it into containers and color with food coloring.
♥The paint is ready to use as soon as it is cool enough to handle! It will continue to thicken over time, which is why I mentioned in the other post that we eventually used it as finger paint in the tub. It was too much like gelatin to use on paper after a few days. It is washable!
Another great question was asked about how I get Theo to do crafts in the first place. To be honest, I really don’t enjoy doing crafts, and the idea of letting my wild toddler go at a bowl of ingredients with a whisk is enough to give me a panic attack on most days. But here is the other reality-Theo loves making things in the kitchen. Whether it is the finger paint mentioned above, the Gateau Au Yaourt recipe I shared in another post, or the “bird cookies” we made for Earth Day, Theo loves being in the kitchen, making things with his hands.
Theo has become quite skilled and careful in executing a recipe or craft. However, and this is the key, it took practice. The first time we made Gateau Au Yaourt, Theo was barely two and it was a complete and total disaster. The kitchen was covered in every ingredient we used, the cake was a total flop, and we were both in tears by the end. But Theo kept asking to “make” things so we persevered. And, with time and a lot of patience on my part, I can now trust him to scoop, stir, paint or do other crafty things without having to call in the HAZMAT team afterwards.
Now, I’m not going to tell you it is a totally fun, relaxing experience. Each time I still get that pinched feeling in my chest as Theo inevitable drops a messy spoon, wipes his dirty hands on his shirt, or accidentally splatters batter on the cupboards. But, is it really that big of a deal? I can clean up the batter and I can throw the clothes in the laundry-but someday Theo will grow up and be too cool for crafts and for that matter, probably mommy. So I can handle a little mess and a little stress in order to get to spend some fun time in the kitchen with my little guy…while I still can.
A few tips for doing crafts or recipes with your kids:
- I always have all the ingredients out ahead of time. I’ve found that if Theo has to wait on me to get everything out and ready, he will inevitable get himself into some sort of mischief and the whole project will be derailed.
- Give your little ones some grace. Remember, they don’t call them motor skills for nothing. The more you help them practice doing crafts and recipes neatly, the better they will get at executing those fine motor skills.
- Expect them to clean up. I always hand Theo a dish rag at the end of every project. Trust me, he knows what to do.
- Set low expectations for what your project will look like. Don’t count on them coming out perfect, or even coming out at all. It is more about the process than the product. I’m not sure how all these other moms on Pinterest get their kids to cooperate enough to create perfect looking crafts to give away as gifts, but that certainly isn’t my experience. And I’m ok with it!
- Say it with me: have….fun! You don’t have to love doing crafts to enjoy the joy that your kids derive out of learning and exploring. Go ahead, give yourself permission to be a little kid with them. Except when using the stove. Still be the adult when using the stove/oven ;-).
Thanks again for your questions and comments. Keep them coming!