Crafting With Kids

Furniture with intention is something that – in my art directing days – I was incredibly drawn to. I loved learning that, historically, wingback chairs were stationed near fireplaces to keep warmth in the head/torso areas, while a chaise “daybed” was designed to encourage mid-day napping at noon. So naturally, the Growth Table from L.A. artists Tim Durfee and Iris Anna Regn recently caught my eye for no other reason than its intention: to encourage families to create together.

Here’s what the artists wrote about their piece: “Children impulsively and unselfconsciously indulge in spontaneous mark-making when presented with a place to sit, a rightly-positioned surface, and colorful instruments with which to draw. The Growth Table creates these conditions – but at a range of scales – to also attract older children and adults who share the memory of countless hours of childhood art-making… When the form of the Table is multiplied or expanded, it creates a community scaled art-parklett, or transforms a public interior into a literal “drawing room.”

Yesterday, Bee learned to color (and to eat crayons, yes, but also to color) and although I know this intense baby stage is so precious, part of me wanted to flash forward for a time of crafternoons and pencil shavings and scissor remnants. Crafting was one of my favorite hobbies as a kid, and judging by Bee’s tantrum when it came time to clean up the crayons and make dinner, I have an inkling she might be a chip off the paint-splattered blocks.

Creating with kids, to me, is incredibly important. There’s the obvious benefit – the concept that creativity and play sharpen the mind and train the brain to look at things in a new perspective. But perhaps what I valued most from my time creating as a kid was the all-important life lesson it taught me: how to fail.

Never did the projects I envisioned in my head look anything remotely like what I’d created with my hands, and the initial sting of failure would rear its head often. But I remember thinking that, as a child, I had two options: I could quit creating and pursue a new hobby I might not enjoy nearly as much, or I could accept failure as part of the process and keep my favorite hobby forever and ever, Amen.

I chose the latter, and even now, failure stings. But I think creating often while I was young and the stakes were low (or really, nonexistent) taught me a multitude of lessons about how to push through those stings to create something better when the stakes get high. And even though my craft is no longer scissors and paint, but is instead, words and ideas, I still plan to keep my favorite hobby forever and ever, Amen.

Image Credits: Durfee Regn

p.s. More on creating with kids here.

  • I’m so looking forward to those crafty days. Forrest has some experience with crayons (yup, eating too), but when he wanted to carry them back and forth to the crayon tub over and over rather than use them, I put them away. But we’ll try again soon. I’m an artsy-fartsy type, I want him to be too! = )

    • Ha – Bee did the same and is NOT happy that I’ve been hiding them from her. She calls them ‘carns’ and asks for them near-hourly!

  • oh man, crafting together is my biggest dream as a mom. my son, same age as bee, also finds crayons tasty and will sometimes scribble on paper/table, but more than anything he just likes to throw them on the floor one by one. i tried with edible homemade finger paints – won’t touch them. homemade nontoxic edible playdo – he just pats it a couple times and loses interest. something in me panics every time that kind of thing happens – what if he just isn’t crafty? what if my attempts to teach him to enjoy these things backfire and he ends up resisting it? i was very crafty as a child and still am and i’m crossing my fingers really hard that craftiness just comes with some phase that he hasn’t reached yet.

    • Ahhhh, I’m sure he’ll be quite crafty, yes! It’s a tough stage for attention spans, I hear. ;)

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