Monday, 25 November 2013

Activity Monday - Christmas Craft

Today we started doing Christmas Craft. Mini Miss is already very excited about Christmas. She is no longer scared of Santa, but keen to see him, get a lolly & have a cuddle (yes, the stranger danger thing bothers me). She understands that there will be a tree and presents and celebrations. 

She also understands that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus birthday. 

So while I was setting up today's activity, she had a great time colouring in a picture of Jospeh, Mary and Baby Jesus. While doing this she informed me that "I love baby Jesus". Makes my heart swell with love. 

Normally I don't buy ready made craft activities. I find they are too directive and can stifle creativity. Also, if a child has a "perfect" example, even just a picture, of what is expected to be achieved but they cannot achieve it, it sets them up to fail. My children will learn about failures, I'm not going to set them up for it.

But this activity was different. And seriously, CHEAP!!! So I thought as an easy, no fuss, first Christmas craft activity it would be great. 

$3 from Officeworks, was this set of 6 Christmas figures that you make out of plaster of Paris & then paint them. Everything is supplied in the package, dried plaster, moulds, paints and a paint brush.
(NOTE: it did say to use with children over 5yrs & no Mini Miss is not 5, but with ample adult supervision she was fine).

I set about reading the instructions while Mini Miss coloured. Immediately I noticed there were no measurements. "Add plaster to water and stir until a thick pourable paste is made". No idea how much water to use, I had to guess. I also wasn't going to risk using too much, so I put the plaster in first then slowly added water while stirring the whole time. It took somewhere between 1/2-3/4 cup of water to reach a consistency I was happy with. Mini Miss did some of the stirring while I poured water. Stirring is one of her favourite things to do in the kitchen! 

Once mixed, we poured it into our moulds. 

Explaining to a 2.5yr that she has to now wait for a couple hours while they dried was not going to go well, so I had more activities planned, boring housework, but she loves to help! 

After 2 hours they popped out easily & didn't look too bad!

Now the fun, painting. Mini Miss needed some encouragement to paint them, it wasn't until later I realised she thought they were food as we had "cooked" them in the kitchen! No wonder she didn't want to paint them, I'm constantly telling her not to eat the paint! Eventually she got into it though! 

We were also lucky to have a fair bit of plaster left over, so I put it to good use.

No idea yet what we will use it for, but it's cute! And underneath I will name & date it.

The trick to using pre made activities is to  let go. Let your child just use their imagination, let them paint what they want, how they want. This is the hardest thing for me. I see that picture perfect example and want to achieve that, but I'm now focusing more on what Mini Miss gets out of it, rather than the final product. 
For example, from this activity, here are some of the skills she gets out of it; 

  • Hand eye coordination, 
  • Colour identification, 
  • Colouring mixing, 
  • Talk about Christmas and an ever growing vocabulary. 
  • Learning the value of patience was a good one today too! 

So the final product? Not "perfect", but she is happy and so am I! 

Now I am off to explore Pinterest and find some more Christmas activities!