Originally published on World Of Moms: http://www.worldofmoms.com/blog/crafting-with-the-big-small-person/560/2

I remember crafting with Lil U while she was younger and she was a much easier fellow crafter. As she grew older her choices remarkably opposed my views and plans for our projects. We ended up squabbling and engaging in two different activities on many days.

Toddlers engage in activities that give them a feeling of control, their curious minds want to try new techniques and uses for material. Having discovered that gluey hands and paints on walls are as much fun, a toddler can be your greatest rival at the crafting table. In an adult crafting world order reigns supreme- the colors are all filled in precisely, creative boundaries are defined by neatness. While crafting with a child, set these lofty expectations aside, and you will breeze through craft time. The project might not be perfect in the adult world, but the child has learnt to sit through an activity with determined concentration and a sense of achievement prevails.

Basis my experience with Lil U, some of the age appropriate crafting activities for a ‘small BIG person’ (read toddler) could be cutting, sticking, stamping, hand printing and assisting with smaller parts of large projects, – for example: holding material down, choosing colors, cutting shapes and applying glue on pieces with a paintbrush, and the most important thing- clearing up the mess.

Age Appropriate Activities for 2- 3 years

Painting with large brushes.
Sticker based crafts.
Finger painting.
Simple cutting projects.
Stringing large beads.
Candy stick shape formations.
Print making using leaves and textures.
Cleaning up and putting material away.

Let a toddler know that you appreciate help and inputs in every crafting session. Ask what could be done better and what they would like to change the next time over. Remember craft is experiential, and observation is a vital experience too. Encourage the child to observe the process being followed. Stress on the need to follow techniques – amount of glue to be used, how to mix paints etc. This learning goes a long way in creating an independent crafter in the next phase.

Age Appropriate Activities for 3 – 5 years

Cutting along lines.
Tracing shapes and objects.
Pasting and using glue independently.
Planning theme based projects activities.
Colouring using paints, pencils, felt pens, crayons.
Choosing project material independently.
Glitter and sequins are enjoyed in this phase.
Stamps of various sizes and shapes and colouring
Cleaning up and putting material away.

Allow the child to take control of the craft desk. Provide ample freedom to choose material and with the idea of the project. Encourage the child to work independently. Letting go of adult standards in perfection is crucial, remember that mistakes and defects are vital to learning.

You will see a confident and creative crafter emerge, when you allow the child a canvas free of extensive adult intervention!