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Today’s Advent activity is making handprint ornaments. I try to come up with one keepsake-ornament craft every year and this year it’s going to be the famous handprint-in-clay ornament
The Importance of Arts and Crafts
We do a lot of arts and crafts in this house – we end up with way more than I could ever intend to keep. For little artists, the benefit of arts and crafts lies in the “doing” more than it does in the hope of having a work of art at the end.
A lot of what my kids get out of making art is practice with manual dexterity and fine motor skills. It also gets them thinking about planning, design, and how certain choices will affect the outcome of their work. Sometimes they even learn to follow directions.
I think it is important to give children a lot of freedom to express themselves when it comes to their artwork. I try not to put them on a short leash, and I try not to worry when the final product doesn’t meet my conventional expectations of what it means for art to be “good.”
I also don’t dictate which art projects are worth saving and which don’t make the cut. Each of my children has a bin for their art projects and they are allowed to keep whatever they want as long as it fits in the bin. When the bin is full, that’s when they have to start making some editorial choices, choices that I leave entirely up to them. This system has worked well for us so far.
Now that you’ve heard from the free-spirited-hippie-earth-mama part of my personality, it’s time to hear from the other side.
Occasionally we do a craft or art project that has a very specific purpose and goal in mind. In these cases I do expect my children to do it the way it is supposed to be done. I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit that these are almost always the crafts that I want to keep for my own sentimental mom-reasons. These don’t go in the kids’ craft bins, they don’t get to get rid of these even if they want to.
I keep these projects in separate keepsake bins that I have for each child with other important and sentimental items. I will give these to them when they are older.
My kids don’t seem to have a problem with the occasional craft or art project where I tell them what to do. I like to think that this is because they have plenty of creative outlets so they don’t feel like I cramp their style too much.
The Homeschooler’s Keepsake Crafts
Most parents rely on their children’s school to provide them with keepsake crafts, milestone projects and even yearly photos. This isn’t the case for us homeschoolers, so we have to take it upon ourselves to remember to do them ourselves. This is fine by me because I like the freedom.
I got these handprint ornament kits off of Amazon because I like to keep things as simple for myself as possible. And let me tell you what: these were a homerun!
- The clay comes already made, no powders, mixing or mess required.
- The clay air dries, so there’s no need to involve your oven.
- The clay is also incredibly lightweight. These really can be used as tree ornaments.
- The only way I deviated from the instructions was that for the older kids I didn’t use the circle cookie cutter. That’s because the kit is made for a baby or toddler and their hands were too big to fit if I did it that way. There was enough clay for them to still do the craft, as you can see in the picture, so no-worries.
- After they dried for 48 hours we added our own glitter paint. Who doesn’t love glitter paint?
- As a bonus, I’m keeping the little rollers, circle cookie cutters and stamps for our Play-Doh box! My kids are always looking for new things to use with their Play-Doh.
I didn’t know this until I read the little note card that comes in each kit, but the creator of the Baby Mushroom brand is a mom of four herself! Her name is Liat. Aren’t moms the best?