Craft WITH your kids!
This year it has been my goal to provide a Parent/Child activity every (or at least ALMOST every) month. Per parent request, for most events I will allow parents to join as "helpers" and attend with their children without doing their own project. Coming up this month is one of my favorite seasonal events, the Painting "Tea" Party. During this event, I am requiring parents to purchase their own tickets, and I'll tell you why:
Kids like to see you trying new things
Trying new things can be scary, for anyone! Especially when it's not just a new activity, but with new people, in a new environment. I have always been a shy, reserved individual, so the thought of taking a class I already find challenging, in a stranger's home, with an unknown number of other strangers, would scare me too! When your children watch you do a project you haven't tried before - enjoy yourself, laugh at yourself - they learn that it's okay and enjoyable to try new things too.
Kids should see you make mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. We tell our children this when they write their 'd' as a 'b', or when they forget to add a tail on the back end of their lion drawing. But a child may not believe that statement if they see us, the "all-knowing adult", never make mistakes ourselves. Doing arts and crafts with a kid usually provides plenty of opportunities to model appropriate responses to mistakes. Comment on your mistakes. Laugh at them. Talk to your children about how an attempt to create one thing didn't turn out how you expected. Talk to them about how you feel about it, and what you can do about it.
Kids like to see you get messy
I don't know if there is any scientific data to support this theory, but I think it's soooo good for our kids to see us get messy. It gives them permission to get messy, in a controlled and appropriate setting ;). Not only is it freeing and relaxing to get your hands messy in paint or play dough, but I find it therapeutic as well. Creating something with your hands is so satisfying and allows a connection to your art that is hard to obtain in other artistic mediums, such as digital art. When you can touch your work, feel the different textures you've created, move colors with your fingers, it can be quite a rewarding experience.
Do you like getting messy with your kids, or are you the stand-back-and-watch type? If you are, I encourage you to jump in the next time your child is working on a craft or science experiment! Watch their expression and see if they react differently with your participation.