Thursday, 3 November 2011

Help! What can I do with the baby?

I was reading Alissa's blog Creative with kids the other day and came across her post 10 ways to guarantee you will hate doing kids crafts... and I laughed and laughed. I have made every single mistake on her list but I am a repeat offender on number 6 "don't plan anything for the baby". I am constantly under-prepared for Boo (15 months), always assuming she can just noodle around on the floor playing with her toys while Cakey (3) is gluing, painting, drawing etc. Not surprisingly, Boo is not on board with this plan so I spend the whole time trying to stop Boo from grabbing the scissors, ripping apart whatever Cakey has created, eating glue or paint or playdough or paper or pipe-cleaners or googly eyes etc. End result: Cakey is unhappy, Boo is unhappy, I am unhappy. 

So my strategy is to wait to do craft when Boo is asleep. This has the major disadvantage of sacrificing Cakey's rest time to do craft, so I never get my peace and quiet either. End result: Cakey is very happy, Boo is asleep, I am very unhappy.

Alissa's post has spurred me on to get a better strategy, so first off, I have created a Boo craft kit with the following:
  • Scissors that she can't easily stab herself with
  • Old textas that have long dried up so she can pull the lids off and on
  • An empty glue stick with lid (she loves those lids)
  • Some chunky chalk to draw with on dark paper
  • I did have crayons in the kit but she kept eating them
Of course this kit only keeps her entertained for so long, so I have had to try some other things as well:
  • When we are painting, I have tried putting Boo in her highchair and giving her paint and paper. So far, this hasn't been hugely successful. She hates being confined and makes a massive mess in a very short amount of time.
  • Doing a few more crafts where Boo can get involved. We recently went back to the good old paddle pop sticks in playdough activity. Boo really liked this and didn't try to attack Cakey's creation. I added some poms poms into the mix and Cakey spent most of her time trying to make single sided tape into double sided tape donuts so she was satisfied too.
So I have made some improvements but I am still struggling – any suggestions for doing craft with more than one kid, particularly if they are different ages, are very welcome.

If you are interested in the update to this post visit Crafting with two.

If this is your first visit to at home with Ali – welcome. If you like it, you can follow along through our facebook page or subscribe via email or RSS. Cheers Ali

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  1. Love this! I can totally identify! And yes, that age can still be called a baby (especially if it's your last one)! :)

  2. I am guilty of still calling our twins 'the babies' and they are nearly three!

    The phenomenon of entertaining different age groups goes on forever. My two older boys can craft away but the twins are still making a mess. I *try* to simplify tasks for them but they always want to do what the big boys are doing.

    It is a shame the high chair trick wasn't more successful. That sounded like a winner. Good luck Ali x

  3. PS Thanks to the link to Creative with Kids. How clever is she???

  4. Thanks for linking to my site :) It looks like Boo is really close in age to my baby (Oh yes, she is most definitely a baby still!) I love the sticks in playdough idea!

    I have to admit I fall back on the crafting during nap time strategy a lot. Also sometimes it works for us to do things when she's hungry and content to eat something while we madly try to do our activity.

    Overall it's a struggle though! I am starting to get curious what kinds of art activities she'll enjoy. I love seeing their personalities come out.

  5. Have you tried taping down a piece of sticky Contact paper to let Boo stick (and unstick) things to?

  6. I like Christies idea! And would she be able to peel off those raised/bubbly stickers?

  7. I know this problem so well. One of my first activities with J was when he was around 18 months old and would be great for a 15 month old. Scrap the paper and just let them paint on the high chair tray. Then we put the paper onto the tray creation at the end. Worked a treat and whilst I fed T he was enterained for a good 45 mins doing this over and over again - I only gave J 2 colours at a time so as not to create a grey mess

  8. Eli is 15 months and flynn is almost 4, we have this issue sometimes. Eli likes to play with cars on a ramp and this wooden sorting toy so often i set him up with this during craft time. But i also give him paper to rip or things to draw with and my baby eats the crayons too! makes for interesting poo. I also slightly ashamed to say it but put a small amount of sprinkles into 3 seperate containers and let him play and eat. take them outside after craft time and deal with elis sugar high x sassy's samity

  9. Oh, it's so hard when the little one wants to stick everything in their mouth. My youngest ate her fair share of marker tips and crayons along with a little play dough. I have no advice, we just somehow got through. And I still call my nearly 3 year old my baby. Thanks for sharing on Monday Madness.

  10. Love the sprinkles idea, I will have to try it out.

  11. I still call my 2.5 year old a baby so she is certainly call your 15 month old a baby too. With my kids I found I just had the younger one doing exactly what the older one was doing. Sometimes I would be doing it too and I always made it so the younger one could tear and attack mine not the older kids.

    Also, I think in about 5 or so months you will find your baby will be able to do many many things and may not be eating the crayons anymore either. Good luck on this phase.

    thanks for sharing with Monday Madness. Hope you come back tomorrow.

  12. Nodding along! And I lovd the post at Creative with Kids- so true!

    My older boy is almost 23 months and my younger is 10 months so we have the same issue- except both kind of need constant supervision! The older will happily sit in his brothers highchair {He usually just sits on a normal chair to eat now} if it means some peace while he does art. Otherwise we do it during his brother`s morning nap {They are both asleep during the afternoon}.

    I didn`t do much craft/art with my toddler before he was you craft in the kitchen? If so, perhaps opening a cupboard with pots and pans and giving him a whisk and spoon will keep him occupied. It certainly works with my younger one {and my older one too when I need it to!}

  13. The high chair trick reminds me of an old cartoon of a Mum doing the ironing in a playpen with the children on the outside. Great idea though


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