28 May 2010

Guest Post Day - Welcome NurtureStore

Hello everyone. I’m Cathy and I write over at NurtureStore, bringing you lots of cheap and easy ideas you can do at home to have fun with your kids and help them learn lots of important early learning skills at the same time.

In Sandy’s ‘Good Enough’ post I sensed a slight reluctance on her part to get the glue and glitter out and do some craft with Presley and Cash as she says she’s ‘not good with mess’. I thought I might use this as the inspiration for this guest post and bring you...

 A Reluctant Parent’s Guide to Kids’ Craft

Firstly, I want to tell you why craft is so good for your children.

Craft activities such as drawing, painting and model making offer children so many opportunities to develop important skills. If you’re making a model you’re working on maths concepts such as size, scale, shape, volume and dimensions. Working out how to get your egg box dragon’s eyes to stay on exercises problem-solving skills. Using scissors and peeling off stickers work on fine-motor skills, building dexterity and strength in fingers which one day will be expected to hold a pencil and produce neat writing. Craft play is important for even very young children as it introduces lots of sensory experiences as they use different materials.  And crafting gives children a chance to be creative and use their imagination. Transforming a cardboard box into a castle offers up a world of new play. Most importantly craft is fun and your child will feel such a sense of pride and achievement when they’ve created something of their own.

Craft is also good for parents. If it’s raining, if your child is tired or grouchy, craft can be therapeutic. Play dough or painting can calm frazzled children and occupy them for a good while. Crafting is also gentle on the purse and environmentally-friendly. Grab a big box and start filling it with all the items that you’d usually throw away, such as cereal boxes, string, old wrapping paper and bottle tops. You’ll soon have a well- stocked craft box ready to spark your children’s imagination, all for free.

And my top tips for stress-free and (almost) mess-free craft:

1.    Cover up: Protect the floor, table, your child and yourself using table cloths, newspapers and aprons. That way you can relax and allow a bit of mess.

2.    Supervise mindfully: Young children do need constant supervision when using materials such as paint and scissors but try to let them create using their own ideas, supporting them with tasks they find difficult.

3.    Choose your materials carefully: Having a recycled making box is great because it costs nothing, so you don’t have to be precious about how the kids use what’s in there. You can completely avoid paint and (heaven forbid!) glitter if you want to; wax crayons, pencils, play dough and stickers are all good, almost-mess-free options. Glue sticks and sticky tape in a sturdy dispenser are cleaner alternatives to runny glue and a spatula.

4.    Make something your kids love: Got a train fanatic? Make them their own tank engine. Got a princess? How about a beautiful crown? And for the very young, just let them have fun exploring the materials on offer.

5.    Extend the play: adding a few props to what you make can transform your child’s play. Four paper circles on a tissue box create a car. Add in their favourite teddy and they can spend the morning going on a journey together.

6.    Have a go! This is the most important rule of all. You don’t have to be a great artist - channel your inner Blue Peter and give it a try. You never know, you might love it.

And if you do, then I hope you’ll pop over to NurtureStore for ideas on what you can make next.


Thank you so much, Cathy. I know this post was written for me and I have been inspired now. I'm off to rummage through the recycling to find items for my making box!

I'm guest posting at NurtureStore today, writing about nurturing a love of books. I've even written my first children's story in honour of the occasion, now if I could just find an illustrator...

Thank you too to Erica at Littlemummy.com for organising Guest Post Day.


There are also a couple of blogging carnivals to tell you about.  

Firstly the lovely Rosie Scribble hosts the BMB carnival. Thank you for including my post, Rosie. I know how much work goes into each carnival.

Finally the wonderful Karin at Cafebebe hosts the MADs carnival. Here you'll find posts by most of The MADs finalists (including NurtureStore, Littlemummy.com, Cafebebe and Baby Baby). If you haven't voted yet, head on over for some inspiration. Even if you have voted there are some wonderful 'best of' posts that you may have missed first time round.



  1. I so agree with Cathy on this one, children love to craft.

  2. I try and do crafts with my two quite a bit especially when we are stuck in if the weather is bad.
    Some good ideas here-thanks!

  3. The eggbox dragon is still on my 'crafts to do' list. Hopefully I'll get round to it over the summer holidays.

  4. I love these ideas and am currently surrounded by boxes as we're soon to be moving, I shall make a craft box and visit you for more ideas as I never have any - thanks!

  5. Thanks for your comments ladies. And Marisworld - a house full of big boxes - what treasures! You might like to see what we did last time we moved house http://nurturestore.co.uk/make-a-cardboard-box-house

  6. Love NurtureStore's craft post! We're going to give some painting a go. Thanks for the carnival mention, Sandy x

  7. Great post, am going to head over and find some new ideas, struggling for messy play ideas for the bear as he's quite young still (21 months), AND we've got to take part in the Huggies messy play challenge (tweet me @baby_genie if you want to join in) and I don't want to show us up!

  8. Cash is 21 months too and I think that's why I've struggled to do very much with them. I normally get out the glue for Presley when Cash has a nap!

  9. Messy play with food can work well for little ones who are likely to put things in their mouth. Jelly is good fun - they can sit in their highchair, in the garden, or you could even use the(empty)bath. Spaghetti is an option too!


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