Ellen

mum

I'm sorry but I hate doing crafts with my kids

I know it’s creative and good for children, but I just can’t bring myself to get involved with all that gluey, painty mess.

I'm sorry but I hate doing crafts with my kids

I blame Val Singleton. When I was small she would be there on Blue Peter confidently creating marvellously colourful and useful things out of empty bottles and cardboard.

I so wanted those creations, they had little drawers that opened when you pulled the tiny brass paper-clippy thing. And they were covered in sticky-backed plastic. It made them look like they were bought, all smooth and symmetrical.

But whenever I had a go there would be tears. For a start we never had any of that stuff- we might have an empty cereal packet one week, but we surely wouldn’t have four yoghurt pots of different diameter and 16 lollypop sticks on the very same day that the muse struck me.

And glue, that was always an issue. If we ever had any of the marvellous stuff you could only ever get it out of the pot once for a limited amount of time before the whole thing gummed solid. And to this day I have never ever seen sticky backed plastic in a shop.

So the end result would be a sorry, cock-eyed thing nearly holding together with the entire roll of sticky tape. You could still see the bits that said Snap, Crackle and Pop and when you put something in a drawer it fell out of the bottom. “Never mind dear,” my mother would say, but I did.

Glitter brings me out in a rash

Consequently, my children don’t do crafty things at home, or at least not any that require my assistance. It’s not that I don’t want to do stuff with them – I’m delighted to sing, read, bounce on the trampoline and play endless games of Monopoly (Ok, not quite endless). But I just can't bear glitter and pipe cleaners.

Now I know you can go to a shop and buy a packet with 16 lollypop sticks in it and some card and glue that works, but I still can’t bring myself to.  I know the end result will be rubbish and have cost more than just buying a ‘real’ version of whatever it was they wanted.

I just believe deep down my efforts will end in misery and, consequently, so will theirs. A few times I’ve had a go, but it’s all ended in a crumpled misshapen mess and bad temper. They now know that if they want to make it, they’re on their own.

My nine-year-old knows this and has come to terms with it. In fact, he’s really very good at making things. He decorated my bra when I did the Edinburgh Moonwalk earlier this year.

It astonishes me, he seems to know exactly how to set about getting the result he’s after, which bits of whatever to attach to the something else. I am very proud of him and also very relieved; it seems I haven’t crushed his creativity.

So, in conclusion, I could either sue Valerie Singleton for the mental trauma, or I could make peace with the fact that I hate craft and that it won’t do my kids any harm at all.

 

8 Comments

  • Screen shot 2011-09-08 at 11

    mum

    RosieScribble

    04 August, 2011

    I feel a huge sense of relief reading this, Ellen. Now I know it is not just me who doesn't like doing crafts. I nolonger feel guilty for being a bit rubbish in this department.

  • Ellen

    mum

    Ellen Arnison

    04 August, 2011

    Glad I'm not alone Rosie. I kind of thought that I'm 44 and quite good at some things, perhaps I could admit to being rubbish at craft.

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    Wmt

    04 August, 2011

    I always end up with blue paint on me, no matter what colour is beiing painted. How's that

  • Ladyblahblahs
    Jo Austin

    04 August, 2011

    I wonder if all of our generation had the same Blue Peter experience. It always ended in disappointment for me too.

    Having said that, I enjoy doing craft with C. To begin with I used to get all controlly and try to stop her from cocking things up. Now that I've got over myself, I like sitting and making things with her. We both accept that what we make will be rubbish - she often reminds me that mine things look silly. I quite enjoy the chats we end up having when we are distracted with something else.

    But I think we all have things that make us itch. I fob C off when she asks me to tell her made up stories - I either offer to read her a book or suddenly remember I forgot to do some essential task. I also have a rule that I'll only play a board game once, mainly because they quickly turn into bored games ime. I used to get away with reading a magazine at the same time without her noticing, but she's switched on to that one now!

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    admin

    Ready for Ten admin

    05 August, 2011

    I love the honesty of this post Ellen. Whilst I am happy to sit and do crafts with my kids, I don't want to have clean up the carnage at the end of it all so I have space to put dinner on the table. I have recently found a little gem which I've just got to share - LOCAL FAMILY CENTRES!!! I know I'm sounding a little over excited but they are truly brilliant. Our local one has arts, crafts, glue, paint, pens, you name it all set out on a big table every day. They also have a huge playroom, garden and massive selection of toys and books, computers for the kids to use and best of all - a coffee machine! I can literally let my kids loose for an hour or so, sit and have a coffee, and when we are ready to go we just leave :-) Definately worth looking to see if you have something similar in your area.

    Leigh
    Ready for Ten Team

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    Kim N

    08 August, 2011

    I love doing craft things with my son, but I do enjoy it more in the summer when we can do stuff in the garden then I don't have to do a massive clearing up operation. I also have a fabulous childminder who does SERIOUSLY MESSY STUFF at her house, that I wouldn't dream of doing indoors or outdoors and they also go to the local family centre and take part in craft workshops there too. I always remember my Mom doing craft stuff with me, so it's just something that I do naturally.

  • Ellen

    mum

    Ellen Arnison

    08 August, 2011

    Kim, Thanks for your comment. I suspect that you either love crafty stuff or you hate it - like marmite, but stickier.

  • Linda

    editor

    Linda Jones, Editor

    11 August, 2011

    Excuse me I have just taken a closer look at this picture. It has really made me smile.

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