Since a few of you seemed like you may be interested in starting your own kid's craft club, I decided to summarize (as much for me as for you) how to get one going. We've done it as a summer activity, but you could definitely keep one going during the school year if there was interest. You can do this with boys or girls and any age 4-11, as long as the crafts/activities were appropriately picked for the right age.
It does take some organizing and a bit of benevolent dictatorship to get moving with this, but it's been so worth the effort to see the kids trying fun, creative ideas and developing friendships at the same time. We made participation in the craft club free of charge, other than the supplies you provide when it's your turn to host.
Here's how to get started:
1. Make a general plan of how many kids you want to include and how often you want to meet. (My suggestion is 6-8 children of similar age and meeting once a week).
2. Invite people. Tell them what your plan is and give them a deadline to respond. This is also a good time to ask them what days/time will work out best for them.
3. Based on who wants to participate and the days/time that they're available, pick an official day, time, and length. (We ended up with Wednesday afternoons for 3 hours). Please note that it may not be possible to accommodate everyone's preferences. Go with the majority and if it doesn't work for someone, they'll either need to change their plans or they may not be able to participate.
4. Make a calendar of the dates (we had 8 participants, so I just calendared 8 Wednesdays in a row) and have people sign up for a day to host. I did this by email and had everyone "Reply All", so that they could see which days were taken. There was some trading around that happened later, but that was much easier to do once it was on the calendar initially.
5. Have people submit their craft ideas as soon as possible to be included on the calendar. I did this so that 2 people did not plan the same craft unknowingly. I think it also was inspirational to see other people's ideas.
6. Be realistic. Keep in mind the ages of the children when planning the crafts. Younger children may have difficulty with some fine motor skills (like detailed cutting or tying knots).
7. Be flexible. Be prepared for time fillers should the craft take less time than you'd expect. ( I often planned a secondary craft while other moms would have them play outside). Also expect that each child has a different threshold for attention. While it's fine to encourage a rushing child to slow down and take their time or remind a more detail oriented child that craft club is ending soon and they will need to wrap up, just don't criticize. Kids are different and that's okay. If two kids finish quickly and run off to play, it's okay. Remember it's all about friendships and fun, which brings me to my next point.
8. Keep it lighthearted and have fun. Remember that fun and developing friendships is what it's all about. One of my crafts was really difficult for some of the girls, in particular my own daughter. As her frustration level rose, I found myself starting to get a little irritated. I had to remind myself why I was doing this in the first place and it helped me to be more patient with her and the others who were struggling.
Coming soon a post filled with cheap, easy, fun craft ideas.