What About the Little Tots?

Some readers have asked about handicraft ideas for preschoolers.

Make large wooden bead necklaces with shoelaces. These can be remade over and over again.
Clay ornaments with cookie cutters
Sew burlap bags with large plastic needle and yarn
Make a felt bag with large needle, embroidery thread and whip stitch.
Make a key holder with nails, hook screws and board.
Paint clay pots and put a plant in them.
Carve soap with a butter knife

This does not mean that young children should never have opportunities to cut and glue and work with paper. These activities can be helpful. It’s the overabundance of this kind of work that is cautioned against. Also, I think we as parents may feel we need to structure everything for our children. My three year old is often given scissors and paper and crayons and he cuts to his heart’s content. There is often no resulting masterpiece and he doesn’t care. He just liked the process and he learned a little coordination as well. My point being that moms need not make a plan that must be followed. Let the little ones explore in their own way. It is not only okay, but beneficial to their development— not to mention mom’s sanity.

I think ample opportunities for natural play outside should be our primary concern for children under six years. Too much time spent on handicrafts often leads to frustration for little developing fingers. Legos and creative toys are useful but I try to save them for the winter months while taking advantage of warm weather as much as possible. Charlotte Mason recommended at least four hours a day of outside play during the summer. In watching my own children’s development, I see the wisdom in this advice.