By Tracey Black, REDBOOK
Thank goodness for the Internet. Without it, I would have no idea how to help my kids set up leprechaun traps for St. Patrick's Day or make bird feeders out of recycled plastic bottles for Earth Day.
My kids absolutely LOVE doing arts and crafts for holidays-even Earth Day and President's Day. I think they just love working with their hands and "making projects," as they like to say.
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It all started when I had the idea to introduce origami to my kids for Boys' Day (May 5th), which is celebrated in Japan. My then six-year-old son was hooked. He wanted to learn how to make all sorts of origami animals: birds, fish-you name it. At his kindergarten graduation, he told everyone that he wanted to be an origami teacher when he grew up. He now has six origami books and all kinds of origami paper from wild animal prints to faux peacock feathers, and he loves that he's able to teach other kids in his class how to do origami.
For my younger son, I remember we once melted all our broken crayons into heart-shaped silicone molds. I never intended on using heart-shaped molds. I bought them to use for Valentine's Day years ago, but they were collecting dust in my cupboard. So we used them for our new craft. My son thought his heart-shaped crayons were the coolest thing ever, and I dubbed myself as the coolest mom in the world.
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Since then I've been addicted to pinning arts and crafts I find on websites and other blogs on Pinterest. Volcano experiment with vinegar and baking soda? We did it. Make-your-own dinosaur fossils? Did it. Sidewalk paint? Did that too. We even make our own Play-Doh. On my best week, we did three arts and crafts projects that I found online. After that, my sons kept asking me after school when I picked them up, "What craft are we doing today?"
Crafting with my kids has been so much fun. I feel like I'm reliving a childhood I never had through them. When I was little, we didn't do arts and crafts. We barely did holiday-themed activities besides wearing store-bought costumes for Halloween and leaving presents under the Christmas tree. The only time we did anything remotely crafty was using Paas coloring kids to dye our Easter eggs.
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I think part of it was cultural. My mom was born in China and raised in Taiwan. Making Chinese dumplings was the only thing we worked on together using our hands-she prided herself on making her own Chinese food. While my friends had dinner out of a box, my mom cooked homemade Chinese food every day. My mom was a single parent who worked all the time, so she was often too tired to do a lot of activities with me.
While it's taken me over three decades to realize I actually do have a crafty side-all this time I thought I was incapable of being domesticated. I'm thrilled I can enjoy it now with my kids. So now I'm looking up how to color Easter eggs with natural dyes and faux flower garlands for May Day.
Do you like to make arts and crafts with your kids?
Tracey Black is the author of Don't Mess with Mama, a blog about parenting, work-life balance, healthy eating, and life as a far from perfect mom. She has three boys under the age of eight, and lives in San Diego, California.
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