No, this isn’t another rant about the ‘summer’ weather – although it's very tempting. I think we’re all well aware of the meteorological issues we’ve faced since the start of July, so let’s just move on, ignore the howling storm outside and think of something positive to do before we all get cabin fever.
Art and Craft! Yay.
Or not, as the case may be.
It should be simple really: kids are naturally creative and parents are always looking for ways to keep them occupied - especially when it's raining, again. Surely, art and craft is the natural solution. Paint, glue,glitter, feathers, a blank piece of paper – what more could you need?
Patience. That’s what. A very, very large amount of patience.
Our art and craft sessions always seem to start out with great enthusiasm. Inspired by ‘1001 craft ideas’ books and children’s TV programmes which give step-by-step, fool-proof instructions, I roll my sleeves up, take a deep breath and make the brave announcement. ‘Right, let’s do some Art and Craft!’
I get everything prepared: messy mat, paint, glue, brushes, glittery things, lolly sticks, googly eyes, feathers, tissue paper, safety scissors, shiny things, pens and paper – it all looks so promising. I have the instructions to hand and call the children, who skip excitedly into the kitchen and gasp in wonder at these treasures I have provided for them.
And that’s when the trouble starts.
You see, children will always insist on doing their own thing. So, despite the fact that I have planned for them to make the polystyrene ball owl which Mister Maker made yesterday in about five minutes, they will insist on building a rocket or an alien monster. They will paste a seven inch thick layer of glue onto the page and tip the entire bottle of glitter onto it – the bottle of glitter I was hoping to also use at Christmas. The yellow, blue, green and red paints I carefully poured into separate pots will, in seconds, be mixed together to create a miserable shade of dark brown. The water will be spilt, they will argue over who uses the ‘big’ paintbrush, the man will come to read the gas meter, my sister will ring for a chat and the cup of coffee I intended to drink while watching my little Picassos will go stone cold and be thrown down the sink. Of course, there’ll also be an almighty mess to tidy up afterwards and I’ll be picking bits of glitter off my cheek for the next week.
This, I am afraid, is the reality. But, somehow, it is all worth it when the kids proudly admire their works of art and insist on sending them to Nana for her birthday.
Over the years, I’ve realised that when it comes to art and craft, the best plan is to not have a plan. Give the kids the raw tools and let them get on with it, as only children know how. The joy is often not in the end result, but in the thrill of the creation. Turn your control-freak off, sip your steaming hot coffee and all will be well.
Tesco’s ‘Go Create’ is a great range of art and craft materials. With everything from A3 size colouring books to coloured paper, glitter stars to washable pens, safety scissors to shiny stickers, there’s something to keep everyone occupied during the last few days of the 'summer' holidays and for those after-school afternoons which will soon be with us again.
So, I, for one, intend to forget about the weather, grit my teeth and get creative. I might even get the kids to decorate my wellies. Now, there’s a thought…