This morning as I was making my bed I was thinking about (and missing) the days of having a toddler on the other side of the bed "helping" me. Then I got to thinking about those early motherhood days and some of the comments or helps I got that really changed things for me as a young mother.
One of those "lightbulb" moments was on a day when I was tired of disciplining again and again over getting the kids to do what I told them.
You know, "Come here and pick this up." "Go get in the bathtub." "It's time to eat lunch." "Time for bed." and the list goes on. and on. and on....
One day I was listening to James Dobson and he was talking about taking some of the stress out of parenting and he talked about how so many times we give a command and we don't give our children time to "switch gears".
He asked how we would like it if we were deep into a project and someone came in and made us immediately stop and go do something. Well, I instantly could think of being in the middle of a sewing project and my husband making me stop that instant to go do something else. I wouldn't like it!
He then told how when it involves something that isn't an emegerncy. You know, like "Get out of the house, it's on fire!" that we should give them some time to switch gears. If they are having a wonderful time playing something you should start maybe 15 minutes before and say something like, "In 15 minutes it will be time for bed." Then in 5 minutes give them the 10 minute warning, then in 5 minutes give them the 5 minute warning and have them begin to pick things up and then it's time to go do what it wanted.
I implemented that and it helped so much! I wasn't fighting irritation and they were so much more compliant. To this day I use that. Just tonight I began letting John know his computer time was running out 20 minutes before it did. No hassle when his time was up!
I learned little by little as a young mother that several of my problems I was creating myself! I thank the Lord for sending the right person with the right message at the right time!
I hope that you're enjoying the precious short time that you have little ones. You look back on it and realize how wonderful a time it was. Children don't require fancy or expensive items to have a good time. They love having you at their side and can turn a tin can into a toy. (or a sink full of bubbles, or paper and scissors.)
With this said, let me give a couple links that I found that John, Cierra and I are going to try out! These are not "christian" links so I can't say rather everything on them is good, but I love, love, love it when I get one more idea for the "little-to-no-cost" craft file!
1) The first is paper flowers. My how I remember making these with my grandmother. We had tissue paper flowers in every vase she owned! So many of the beautiful crafts I see made by Martha Stewart and other websites are things that I made with my grandmother or mother, they've just used things that cost more money on them. However, our kids don't care! Cierra and I are going to make the beautiful pink flower covered wreath to hang over her bed as a home ec project!
2.) The second is teaching little hands to use motor skills. My grandmother had a box of lace up cards for us to play with. She used cards but you can use even poster board that you glue a coloring book picture on or you can sketch a picture yourself (like my mother did). It was on a rectangle and then the picture was put on it and holes were punched evenly around it.
Next, you had a blunt needle and some yarn put in it. You simply went in and out of the holes. So fun! I remember my grandmother keeping me happy with a needle and thread and having me go through her button box sorting colors and then threading them together! No wonder I wanted her button collection when she died. Sweet memories!
This lady is awesome with her ideas! She shows here how to use Dollar Store shelf liner that you sketch a picture on and then let the kiddos sew on it. Take a look. While you're there take a look at her music wall--oh, how I would have loved it! and many other cute ideas for kids!
3) And how about paper? My mother taught me how to make a doll house from an old catalog. We took a piece of typing paper and then I cut out my favorite couch, chair, lamps, etc. from the catalog. Then I layered them with my own design. That was my living room! We did it with each room of the house and then bound them (with a hole punch and yarn) into a book! I played with them by the hour.
She also took poster board and made me a house with upstairs and downstairs. She drew (my mother was a very good artist.) each room and my oven door opened (cut out with a piece of cardboard glued behind it.) my beds had slits and the cardboard people went to bed and got between the covers.) and my little people were made for me in their nightgowns (for bedtime), I had a dad with a suit (for going to work), I had a baby that slid into its high chair, and a mom in her dress and apron for stirring the little pot that sat on my stove! I was such a blessed child!
I remember sitting with the little store she made me in a closet and singing my heart out to the song, "Thank You Lord for saving my soul...." as I played with my little cardboard store and watched my mother working in our kitchen.
Here's a place where you can make beautiful colored necklaces out of paper. We've made them out of gift wrap, magazines and leftover church bulletins. Kids love making them!
The How About Orange blog shows how to make beautiful bows for packages out of magazine pages, how to make paper medallions, how to make paper lanterns, and beautiful 3-D paper ornaments. Most of them even your 3 year old can manage!
4. Carboard boxes. My mother could turn a cereal box into a darling couch for an 11-inch doll. She made a cocoa box into a kitchen sink for my doll! She turned a wood block into a tiny radio!
Cardboard boxes are so, so fun! We've turned refrigerator boxes into boats, forts, and houses. The ideas are endless. You can make castles out of cardboard boxes, you can make huge blocks out of cardboard boxes. Little ones love stacking them! Go to fifthwizardy's blog and see some of the cute ideas she has for cardboard boxes!
John and I are working on turning a coffee can into a mailbox (complete with flag) for his treehouse. We're also trying to find crafts and experiments for this month. So, may I encourage you not just to look at these ideas--pick one and get the supplies and cover your table with newspapers and do it. Schedule a time and let nothing else take over that time-you've got a date with the kids!
Got any websites you love and use? Got other ideas or tips on crafts with kids? I'd love to hear about them!