Top Tips for a successful arts and crafts session with children under 6

Sitting down to do arts and crafts with your children is not without its challenges and things won’t always go to plan. But there are steps you can take to help ensure your children get the best out of the activity you have planned for them.
The most important thing I have learned since embarking on almost daily activities with my own kids is that preparation ahead of sitting down to do the activity is key, as well as managing your own expectations for the outcome of the activity. Your kids will not create “a masterpiece” every time and sometimes they will prefer to take things in their own direction and ignore all of your instructions, but then that’s surely that’s half the fun!

I put a shout at recently to my blogger friends over at the “Kid Blogger Network” to ask them what their top tips would be for a successful arts and crafts session with children under 6 years of age and here is a list of they came up with:

“PREP your craft session. Cut bits and pieces ahead of time if needs be. Also make sure you have clutter free, spacious work area, so that you are not distracted and people can concentrate,” Maggie Woodley from Red Ted Art.

“Be flexible and go with the flow if things don’t go as planned,” Betsy Finn, photographer and blogger. Here is an example of this advice in practice over on Besty’s blog 
“Put on clothes you do not mind if they get messy”  Jamie from Frogs, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.

“Keep it simple and be fully organised before starting- ie have all materials and equipment ready as these can act as a stimulus as well as reduce stress and chaos!!!!!”,  Ciara from Our Little House in the Country.

“Have wet disposable cloths handy”, says Kate from Laughing Kids Learn.
“Be prepared ahead of time and have a plan for clean-up afterwards.” Sharla Kostelyk, blogger. Here is a useful post from Sharla full of tips on how to cleanup after playing with a sensory bin.

“For young children who are a bit reluctant about art, consider taking art outside and keep the process open and creative” Jennifer Fischer 

“Prep for the clean up portion when you prepare the activity, That way you have a plan in place when everything and everyone is covered in paint or glitter” Erin Bhur, Bambini Travel

“Tape paper to the surface before painting – it prevents it slipping or being knocked to the floor,” George Bonner, Craftulate

“Prepare well in advance and it is better to prepare whilst the kids aren’t around and make the activity easy for them to understand. I find that they enjoy the project more if you just have three steps – Step 1: cut it up. Step 2: Decorate. Step 3: Stick it up, “ Ayesha Siddiqua, Words and Needles

“Choose your time and space wisely. Make sure everyone is fresh, relaxed and happy (parent included) and set up for creative fun in an area where you won’t be too stressed about the kids getting messy – don’t be afraid to take it outdoors if that works best,” Christie Burnett, Childhood 101

“Preparing the session is key, but more than that is trying not to let your expectation take over their craft of the outcome. For under 6’s just doing is really important if not more important than how the end product looks,” says Jen Walshaw. Here is a great article from Jen which discusses further the benefits of “Why art process is important for kids”

“If painting limit the color choices to 2-3 colours for beginning artists. This gives them the opportunity to feel successful and explore how to create and mix new colours,” says Jamie Hand. Check out this article from Jamie for more tips on painting with young artists.

Can you think of any tips to add to this list to help others out?

14 thoughts on “Top Tips for a successful arts and crafts session with children under 6

  1. I absolutely agree about preparation, it makes fr a much more enjoyable session for you all. Baby wipes are a life saver and protect your work surface or your lovely table will end up covered in marker pen (sob).

  2. Really good tips. I'm a perfectionist and sometimes forget that how the end result looks shouldn't matter, regardless of age. I have a tip of my own to add, if I may — sometimes my 2.5 yo's art sessions tend to be really quick because of how young they are and his attention span is still short. But add an older brother (my 8 yo), and the session becomes really drawn out because my younger one tends to want to copy whatever his older brother is doing. So, I guess my tip is to add an older sibling, if possible, that is 😉

  3. I love it!! I'm often rather reluctant to do crafting because it takes so long to set up and is over within 5 minutes… But that's so lazy!!! I must have a good look around your site to get some inspiration, particularly to take the art outside, I think Reuben would enjoy that and it might last a wee bit longer then 😉

    Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx

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