Several times a day, my daughter asks me, “can we do an art project?” so we end up spending a lot of time with paints, glitter and glue. But I noticed that while Peeper dove into creating each masterpiece without worrying about what it would be or how it would turn out, I hung back.
I didn’t know what to make. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t feel moved to get creative with my kids.
When it came to arts and crafts with my daughter, I was fresh out of ideas.
Sound familiar? If you need a gentle nudge toward trying on a child’s uninhibited inspiration, too, here are some ideas to get creative with your kids—even if you’re not an artist.
Despite the two years that separate them, Kiwi and Peeper sometimes look like twins—well, a long-haired twin and one with barely enough hair to put up in a whale spout. But this past month, Kiwi’s love of doing everything her big sister does means I have two kids who give me twice the trouble and twice the joy. Because Kiwi is a walking, talking, singing copycat kid.
Kiwi the copycat kid does just about everything else we do. She blows her nose when I have a cold. She combs her hair with a sock when Peeper’s getting her pigtails in. She washes Peeper in the bath just like I do.
In one part of the Cinderella CD we listen to every single darn time we get in the car, Peeper sings along to the chorus—“Ahhh ahhh ahhh ahhhh!” Kiwi does the same, though without much of a tune.
Peeper is learning how to turn a cartwheel in gymnastics. She was showing us the other day, and Kiwi tried to mimic her—and actually got pretty close! Kiwi’s cartwheels were more like headstands, but she did accidentally do a somersault, too. Peeper was thrilled: She clapped and exclaimed, “She’s doing it! She’s doing it!”
Kiwi is all eyes—and then she gets it. After watching Peeper or another one of us, she launches into her own version, whether it’s dancing or scrubbing down her high chair.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well, Kiwi is really buttering us up. Read more
“Hey, what’s that noise?” I asked. Peeper looked up, her eyes wide. She turned to look out the window. “Let’s go see!” I said. I figured we had to do this one thing before we said goodbye summer.
As quickly as I could, I got our shoes on, picked up Kiwi and dashed outside. The metallic tinkling tune was fading as its source moved farther away. Undeterred, I hurried us along the quiet street.
Then, to my relief, the cheerful song got louder. And then we saw it: the ice cream truck.
A few times this summer, the ice cream truck has stopped in our neighborhood. The driver must have known about the groups of kids who rove through our block. They play chase, ride scooters, flirt and let the summer afternoons drift by as if time did not exist.
Yet I hadn’t taken my girls out to have their first ice cream truck experience. The truck always seemed to come right before nap time. Or, more honestly, I just didn’t want to deal with the sugar buzz, no matter the time of day.
But summer is coming to a close. Before we said goodbye summer, I wanted the girls to say hello, cream truck! Read more
I received a free craft kit from Little Loving Hands to try out. As always, all opinions here are my own.
My Peeper, she has one of the kindest, most empathetic hearts I’ve ever known. She brings Kiwi’s favorite toys to her when Little Sister is crying. She covers me in kisses if I stub my toe (including the time a few weeks ago when I’m pretty sure I broke my pinkie toe—ouch!). She gets choked up if a character in a book is sad.
So it’s natural that she wants to help others.
Volunteering opportunities for preschoolers and younger kids are slim pickings, though. I keep an eye out for children’s volunteering activities but rarely find a way to bring her along.
So we create our own volunteering opportunities at home. We make cards for Meals on Wheels. We do the monthly activities, like cleaning up the nearby park and making bird feeders, sent to us by Giving Families. And recently, we made a craft for a homeless child living in a shelter with the kit from Little Loving Hands. Read more
This post contains an affiliate link to the book The BFG. Please see my policies and disclosures page for more information.
Growing up, Roald Dahl’s the BFG was a BFD. I seriously loved that book.
Scratch that. I love—present tense—that book.
The BFG (which stands for the Big Friendly Giant, for all of you not in the Roald Dahl know) was my favorite book for years. Over and over I read about how Sophie befriended the BFG and together with the Queen of England’s help rounded up all the mean, children’s bone-gnashing giants.
I laughed at (and gobblefunked with) the BFG’s hilarious words (snozzcumber!!!) and wondered what dreams he’d trumpet into my room each night.
So today, on Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, I say thank you to my all-time favorite children’s book author. Read more
The other day, a friend of mine wrote online about the trouble she’s having pumping at work. Coworkers walk in on her while she’s pumping milk for her baby. She’s rushing to pump and still get back to her class in time to teach. And unsupportive colleagues are making insensitive comments.
Because that’s just what a working mom needs: Flak for doing her best to feed her baby, continue her career and maintain her own health.
(Skeptical that pumping is more than a luxury or convenience to breastfeeding women? Please read this NPR article about the health risks of not being able to pump breast milk regularly.)
Other moms and I jumped in to defend our friend online, since we can’t drive to work with her and stand up to those jerks in person. Unfortunately. Though I’d totally do it.
We suggested a handful of comebacks a working mom could use to the ignorant, curious or hostile comments she got. If you’re heading back to work—or are already back and are unsure of how to respond to coworkers—here are ready-to-use replies for an unsupportive colleague’s comments about your about pumping at work.
Glitter gets a bad rap: It sticks to everything, makes its way into every crevice in your house and can apparently scratch a kid’s cornea—yada yada yada. But I am a Glitter Cheerleader.
I love the way glitter catches the light. I wear a craft project’s collateral glitter with pride, even days later. (Doesn’t glitter in your hair or on your blazer just say, “I’m a mom of a preschooler and I’m not afraid to flaunt it!”) And I love the way Peeper gets so freaking excited whenever I suggest we do a glitter art project.
The other day, when I suggested we try something new—glitter marble painting—was no exception. Her face lit up like a glittered disco ball.