How To Stress Less During Arts and Crafts with a Toddler/Preschooler


I have always enjoyed doing arts and crafts even before I had children. The first arts and crafts project that I did with my son is when he was 7 months old. It was two canvas paintings that we made for my husband as a Father’s Day gift. I poured paint onto one canvas and then let him rub his hands all over the canvas. Next, I poured paint onto another canvas and let him walk on it to have his footprints everywhere to make a design. I think this might have also been the easiest project because I took his hands and feet and led them to where I wanted them to go. Once he began to talk and walk it was totally different. He did not follow directions. He would get easily distracted and he would make huge messes. I would have projects that I wanted to do with him in mind, but the thought of what our previous arts and crafts sessions were like made me procrastinate doing another. However, I want to encourage moms out there. If this sounds like you and your child do not give up. [Tweet “Even though it can be stressful, these are moments that I would not trade for anything.”] As my son is getting older, these times are getting better. He understands that we have to clean up when we are finished. He follows directions. He still gets distracted sometimes, but it doesn’t bother me as much anymore. With that being said, if you would like to do an arts and crafts project with your toddler or preschooler, I want you to keep the following things in mind so that you will not become stressed.

  1. This is a learning activity.You are teaching your child while you are doing arts and crafts. You are teaching your child how to follow directions, focus, use scissors, color, paint and use glue. All of these are skills that they need to learn. The more that they practice, the better they will become. Also, depending on the project, they could be learning a number of subjects, such as math, history, and science. And, you want them to enjoy learning about the subject so that they will have a positive attitude towards it.
  2. Everything does not have to be perfect.No, your child will not color in the lines and they will not glue that piece of paper exactly where you want them to. I struggled with this because I am a perfectionist and I want things done exactly the way that I think that they should be done. If I am following directions I try to follow them to a T. But I learned that everything is not going to be perfect. Your child is still learning, so you should not expect them to get everything correct even if in your eyes they are a genius. I have begun doing arts and crafts with my daughter who is 1. She is all over the place and I just let her do her thing. One day she will get it right and it will probably be better than I ever could have done it.
  3. Take a break.If things are getting a bit overwhelming, walk away from your project. Come back to it once everyone has calmed down.
  4. Do your arts and crafts in a space that is easy to clean.When you prep your space for an easy clean up it will allow you to move on to something else quicker. Some suggestions are to have paper towels available to clean up spills or wipe hands easily. You can also lay down newspaper or a shower liner if you know there is a chance for something to fall and mess up the floor or carpet.
  5. Have fun!Show your kid how to have fun by being a kid yourself. Do things that you know you used to do as a child. I like to show my son what types of things he can make with his Playdoh. If he is painting, I like to paint with him and show him how to mix it up sometimes by using multiple colors. Sing songs and dance a little while doing your arts and crafts session.

    FYI: If you need some arts and crafts ideas, feel free to browse my Pinterest page.

    How are your arts and crafts sessions with your little one? Do you ever become stressed?


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A Bit Of Everything

10 thoughts on “How To Stress Less During Arts and Crafts with a Toddler/Preschooler

  1. Good reminder that it’s a learning activity. I never thought about how much they are learning as they do each step. I often stress out about the mess and the fact that they just start grabbing things. Whew. My kiddos do enjoy crafts though and I often forget it doesn’t need to be complicated.

    1. Yes exactly! It can be a mess but it’s worth it. Not only is it a learning activity, but it is quality time, which is always good!

  2. I love this! I want to encourage my kids to be artistic, but I do stress about the mess, and things looking all crazy. But some newspaper and an acceptance that they’re learning are just what I need 🙂 Thanks for sharing at the Manic Mondays blog hop!

  3. I think there is a lesson for parents in doing arts and crafts in how to rrlax our expectations a little, and not try to be such perfectionists.
    Thanks for linking up with us, Tracey xx #abitofeverything xx

  4. These instructions are so true. Also before you know it they will be grown AND gone!!! So enjoy everything and anything. All the memories will be there forever.

    Love this post Lori,

    I am going to subscribe to your future post to keep in touch, please do the same for The Woman’s Post, I need all the ladies I can get to share their ideas, hopes, dreams and love. Thanks

  5. LOL – those crafts can be stressful! I like to eliminate the glitter… that takes the stress factor down by 99% lol

    Great tips!

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.

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