The opportunity to be creative is a vital part of childhood. Many of today’s successful artists, designers and makers credit childhoods spent making, creating and inventing with parental encouragement behind it all.
As a family we all love to learn new skills. We love making things be it with wood, fabric, paints or ingredients. Both Cait and Eddie own their own sewing machines, Sid has his own collection of (real) tools, and Paddy and Ollie have their own cookware (again real – we see no point in paying over the odds for children’s versions when they can use the real things with supervision).
As I’ve previously blogged, everyone’s love of making and doing might mean that the house is not at its best, but you can’t be artistic and tidy too – it just isn’t possible – or fun. Being creative often means making a mess and being prepared for it will help keep the stress levels down. Lay down some table covers, put a mat on the floor and let your children’s imaginations reign.
Here are our top ten arts and crafts supplies that every family’s craft cupboard should have:
Building up a fabric stash can be very cheaply done. Instead of throwing out old clothes and towels, keep a selection to hand for textile projects. Old jeans are great for so many projects and squares of cotton can be used for decoupage or patchwork projects. Check out this lovely shabby chic raggy bag tutorial to get you started. The Works also stock small packs of linen or sack cloths suitable for projects that are worth keeping to hand.
Not just for sewing and textiles, buttons make great embellishments for handmade cards or paper crafts too.
PVA glue is brilliant for so many projects whether it’s for making robots from cereal boxes and toilet rolls, or decoupaging furniture and decorative items.
From finger and poster paints to more grown up watercolours, we’ve so many paints here it’s untrue. Eddie has sat through many a YouTube video tutorials and certainly has a talent in this area – the only problem with him being that he’s keen to try every creative activity going so he doesn’t focus long enough before moving onto the next thing!
I can hear the groans from parents from here but hear me out… glitter is actually great! You can create wonderful effects, jazz up something boring or simply have fun with it. See, it’s pretty lovely stuff… once you manage to clean it up from every surface, floor, carpet, person, scalp…
Brushes, sponges and rollers
It is handy to keep a separate batch of brushes and sponges for gluing and another for painting so each batch has its own exclusive use. Try to build up a stock of different sizes, colours and textures for a variety of uses each of which will create a different effect.
Knitting, crochet, weaving, macramé… the list is endless. Or for something simpler there is always the good old pom-pom.
Paper and cardstock
Keep a supply of paper available to allow creativity at a moment’s notice. Cheap printer paper is available freely here, whereas cardstock is kept for more important projects.
Pens, pencils, crayons…
You can never have enough of these things – goodness knows where ours disappear to so quickly. One tip if you have toddlers who test their artistic talents Banksy-style on your walls or furniture – Magic Sponges are great!
Build up a supply of good quality scissors, ensuring you keep paper and fabric ones separate from each other. There are some child-friendly versions with wonderful blade designs which make fabulous patterns as you cut which are always a hit!