The Six Stages of Crafting with Small Children

Before we got in the first of three fights over the placement of tissue paper on this witch hat.

My girls love a good craft project (Obviously, they get this from their mama).

But, like most activities where kids are involved, how you think it will go and how it actually goes are vastly different states.

Let’s review the six stages of crafting with (in this case, two) small children:


Scour Pinterest and save approximately 217 crafts. You are going to have the perfect collection of pipe cleaner, toilet paper roll and popsicle stick crafts for all seasons. You’ll spend whole afternoons stretched out on the living room floor, marveling as your little one craft the perfect paper plate creations with her tiny hands. You’ll carefully put her name and the date of the work on the back of the piece with a Sharpie, wrap it in tissue paper for safekeeping and take it out once a year to display on the mantle, along with your other cherished decorations.

Supply Gathering

Head to your local A.C. Moore and fill your basket to the top with tubes of glitter, pom- poms and googly eyes. Wander around the store comparing 50 different shades of green paint, in order to find the right one.

Gasp when your haul adds up to as much as your weekly grocery store bill. Become low-key annoyed when the sales associate says that he cannot accept your 50 percent off purchase coupon because all of these things are doorbuster items. Grab your bag of supplies and head out the door, calmly reminding yourself that your can’t put a price on the memories you will make, crafting the day away.

Halfway to your house, realize that you are out of the paper plates which are integral to several of your planned activities. Make an additional stop at CVS. Spend another $50 because you deserve some new lipstick and eyeshadow, too.

Note: How long you spend in this phase will depend whether or not you’ve brought your kids with you. The scenario above assumes a rare trip alone, and probably took about an hour. You can double that time with kids, due to bathroom trips, snack breaks and meltdowns when you refuse to buy all the random crap they snuck into your cart without looking.


Arrive home and before you have even put your bag down, make the mistake of telling the kids that you are going to do a craft!!!

“I love crafts!!!!!!” They say while running to get their smocks.

“This is just going to be the best! I am so good at thinking of fun activities.” You say to yourself.

Lay out a large tarp on the living room floor. While looking for additional tarps with which to cover all the furniture in the living room (just in case) discover that you have an unopened 300 pack of paper plates on the basement shelf.

The big one asks “when are we going to do a craft?”

Look for the additional supplies that you need in the living room closet. Puzzle boxes rain down on your head.

The little one asks “when are we going to do a craft?”

Pull up the craft of the day on Pinterest and to review the instructions.

Both kids ask “when are we going to do a craft?”

Re-read the same step five times while trying to dispense Goldfish to the big one, who is “sooooooo hungry.”

Put phone down to help the little one on the potty.

Spend the next fifteen minutes looking for phone. Find it in the back pocket of your jeans.

The big one declares Goldfish “disgusting” and demands that they be replaced with pretzels.

The little one needs a drink, “bit definitely not water.” Dispense apple juice. After two sips, it’s potty time again.

Finally manage to finish reading the 26 easy steps outlined by the mommy blogger, while the little one is on the potty.

Return to the living room to find that the big one has dispensed half a bottle of Elmer’s glue on to the tarp and is using it as hand lotion. Wash hands and change clothes.

Ninety minutes later, everyone is fed, hydrated, pottied and now is actually wearing a smock over their clothes. It’s time to get your craft on!

The Emotional Roller-Coaster

Give each crafter the relevant supplies and start to explain the process. The big one declares this craft “boring.” The little one agrees, calling it “Too boring.”

Decide that these two aren’t going to ruin your fun and begin to make the craft yourself. As soon as you dip your paintbrush into the pot of paint, the big one takes a great interest and snatches the brush out of your hand, saying “I want a turn!”

Realize the little one is awfully quiet. You panic that she wandered off with the safety scissors and is cutting her own hair in the corner. You race across the house to find that she’s been entertaining herself by unspooling yards of ribbon across the dining room floor.

Relieved, you return and try to resist the urge to correct technique and use of color. This is turning out to look nothing like the photos from the blog post. Feel your blood pressure rise. Dust glitter off the discarded bowl of pretzels and eat your feelings.

The big one says, “This is the best craft ever, mama. I love you.” Heart melts. Pretend that you don’t see the drops of paint that land on her leggings as she holds the paint brush high up in the air and grins at you.

The little one has lost interest in the ribbon and wanders over to participate. The big one, sensing she is no longer the center of attention, had no problem correcting the little ones technique and use of color.

The little one begins to cry. The big one calls her a baby.

Little one replies, “I am not a baby!” And throws a pom-pom at the big one. Big one begins to cry.

Put yourself in time out (i.e. the bathroom) until the noise dies down.

Emerge from your hiding place, sure that the two of them have knocked each other out, only to find the two of them working on their projects side by side. Heart melts.

The big one says, “Look mama, I’m all done!” And hands you her masterpiece.

Pretend you don’t notice the clumps of glitter and glue that are dripping down the sides of the project. Instead, ooh and aah over her work, while making a big deal of clearing the perfect place on the mantle to display it.

Turn around to seek her approval and see only the debris strewn tarp, and wonder how that much of a mess can be made in just ten minutes.


Find both the big one and the little one strewn across the couches in the family room, watching Peppa Pig. The big one says “what are we doing next?” Without even taking her eyes off the TV.

Return to the mess and sigh. Google: how to get Mod Podge off of hardwood, and get to work.

Attempt to scoop sequins back into the tiny bags that they came in. After much swearing, gather up tarp and dump those little gold and purple flecks into the trash can. You are willing to spend another dollar on another pack of them, next time you do a craft. Which will definitely NOT be anytime soon.

Catch sight of the wonky looking craft on the mantle. It actually does have a certain amount of charm…

Anticipation (again)

Clean up is complete and the kids have once again returned to the living room and immediately dumped all of their toys out on the floor.

Take advantage of their continued solo entertainment to catch up on social media.

Scroll through Pinterest, see the most adorable turkey made out of a hand print and feathers.

Pin that sucker, while thinking how much the kids will enjoy making it and how darn cute he will look on the refrigerator.

Viscous cycle, indeed.

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