A friend emailed a few weeks ago after several kid-crafty post went up on my blog. She was inspired. She asked if she and her kids could come over from time to time to craft with us. The idea of some time together as adults while the kids create and play sounded perfect.
And so the Kids Craft Co-op was born.
It is informal, with our families gathering every few weeks on a Monday morning. This is a new adventure and we've only met twice but have plans for many more crafty mornings together. I'm looking forward to warm spring days crafting outside in the sunshine.
So far we have made wool & wooden bead necklaces and lavender
pocket dolls. (There are so many more wonderful ideas on our list!) The next time we meet the dolls will get faces and hair, but the girls are already loving their new babies. Stuffed with wool and a pinch of lavender, they couldn't stop sniffing them.
This co-op has added another reason to get inspired with new projects and has brought a new sense of community to our days. We're more connected for making this time, as are our children.
Want to start your own Kids Craft Co-op? Here is a framework to get you started.
1. Select an appropriate number of children. We like to follow invite one guest for each year your child is old. Since this is more Lupine's co-op than Sage's, three guests are appropriate. Too many guests will spiral into chaos and can overstimulate kids and parents alike, so for me less works beautifully. Start small and work your way up.
2. Plan for your first craft. Select a craft that is age-appropriate for your guests. The younger the child the simpler and quicker the project should be. A good place to start is a 10 minute craft. If the children were able to focus, then expand the projects from there in subsequent visits.
Ideas abound, like crowns, fairy houses, magic wands, dyed pasta jewelery, bubble wands, music makers, play silks, matchbox babies, or a simple sidewalk-chalk extravaganza.
You may choose to plan the craft yourself for each gathering or rotate the task among all adults.
3. Set the time. Do mornings work best for your kids? Or after nap/afternoon? Prioritize your child's needs since they are being asked to share their space. Be flexible but don't get too wrapped up in accommodating everyone. Keep in mind clean-up time, too as you won't want to do all the clean-up after your friends leave.
4. Invite your guests. We ask guests to bring a healthy snack to share and we provide all of the art supplies. You could mix it up and ask participants to bring a material for the project and a snack or just supplies.
5. Get Crafting! As I mentioned here, putting aside our own vision is part of the magic of creating with kids. So provide the framework, assist as needed, and get out of the way. Creating with kids is one of the joys of my everyday. Sharing this with friends makes it just that much better.