Freestyle crafting and the Pinterest pressure phenomenon

Freestyle crafting and the Pinterest pressure phenomenon

We’re having fun! – Miss J, 2

I adore Pinterest – it’s my favourite place to scour for inspiration. It’s great for random surfing and it’s great for pulling together mood boards or researching an idea. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

BUT it can rather leave you feeling inadequate, can’t it? You probably wouldn’t see a pic like the wonderfully wild one by Miss J above being re-pinned as a must try!

Or this crazy wand by JD…


Or this awesome dinosaur in a tree, also by JD…


Or even this simple little folded wand (by me, actually)…


Thing is, I realised after reading this post about screen-free time and creativity that lately we were tending to get the craft materials out with too much of an end goal in mind eg “Let’s try to make a ….”

Prompts are great, but too much can be stifling. That changed today.

Today, we got out the craft box and freestyled for two hours. I gave no instructions except, “have fun!” We went back to the good old days where we weren’t trying to achieve anything, just enjoying the doing.

They made wands, they made dinosaur collages, they made random sticky, gluey, sparkly posters, and they loved it. Lesson learned.

How do you craft?

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  1. says

    So, so true – so many of the things on Pinterest although amazing are really unachievable by a small child. I remember having to accept this when learning to plan crafts for nursery classes – you’d imagine something wonderful but it always ended up on the floor. Free play is far less pressure and more fun. xx
    Emily recently posted…Financial Education…My Profile

  2. says

    I’m loving your kid’s creations and you make such a great point! You can pretty much guarantee that many of the ‘end’ products on pinterest haven’t been completed by children. One way to stump creativity in a child is to tell them exactly how something should look or be made. Always allow a child to colour outside the lines.
    Debra recently posted…currentlyMy Profile

  3. says

    My previous post has disappeared in to the web ether! I agree that crafting for craftins sake is a good excercise, especially with young preschool and toddler children. If you are interested in that Cathy at Nurturestore has a great back to basics play matters month this January.

    My boys are 7 and 8 and my post was about encouraging them off electronics and therefore, as older children they often like to have a set goal of what they are looking to achieve. I think that for older children prompts are a great thing.

    When they were smaller and before Pinterest even existed I used to do crafts with them and put tutorials on the blog, but after deciding that it was detrimental to both them and me to have an end goal in mind we stopped for a while. This is not a new phenomenon. I would often impose my idea for finished projects on the boys and I have learned that they have their own interpretation of the finished project, which often doesn’t exactly match mine (well what do I expect they are 30 odd years younger than me)!
    Jen aka The Mad House recently posted…A month of #ScreenFree prompts and activitiesMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks for this – my mum is a child development lecturer so I’ve always been really conscious of the value of learning through play and certainly won’t stop providing planned/printed activities, as we all enjoy them.

      I just realised after reading your post that I do it too much and, as you say, impose my own way of thinking and idea of the outcome a little too much sometimes.

      I love that they came up with their own idea that we were making wands and I joined in. That wouldn’t have happened if I’d set the stage more.

      I guess I did use a v mild prompt yesterday though, as when I was getting the box out I think I said, let’s do some craft ;)

  4. says

    Our crafts will never make a Pinterest board either but we do have fun doing them so I’m OK with that ;-)

    I do find that my two like to have a bit of a goal in mind when we craft but I think that’s because they’re a bit older and like to have a plan so they can think about exactly what they want to do and how they want to do it.
    Cass recently posted…If this isn’t a good sign….My Profile

  5. says

    Our crafting went a bit too free styley today judging by the crayon mural on the wall!
    Stuff that I’m doing for me I do in the evenings because I get a bit precious over my super fine glitter. Stuff that we do together I tend to leave them to it. I just supervise quantites of glue used etc
    Louisa recently posted…New year. New bunny!My Profile

  6. says

    We’re so making pipe cleaner wands tomorrow! I am trying to let my kids (2 and 3.5 years) have more free access to the craft materials but sometimes they get EVERYTHING out and don’t make anything!
    Mandy recently posted…Pitta pizzaMy Profile

  7. says

    I think that is why I tend to avoid Pinterest, my crafting skills are not great and I do feel a bit useless looking at all of the amazing creations. We do love crafting together though and my son isn’t bothered what his creations look like, he still has fun which is the main thing!
    Mummy of Two recently posted…New Year 2013 #FlashbackFridayMy Profile

  8. says

    Shouldn’t say this but as less as possible, I hate the mess craft makes and it’s usually the girls’ begging me to sdo some that makes me give in. Very rarely do I instigate and therefore my Craft board is full of other people’s ideas and not mine ;)
    Mari recently posted…Feeding squirrels in Danson parkMy Profile

  9. says

    I only use pinterest craft ideas for myself. I wouldn’t ever show my daughters a picture of the outcome and tell them to copy that. I normally just put some paper and lots of random bits on the table and leave the girls to get on with it, whilst i craft other bits. x

    • says

      Oh gosh lol no I wouldn’t do that either! But it’s quite normal as a parent to say, ok let’s try to make a caterpillar/bird/star, and forget the value of just creating freely. That’s what I realised I was falling into the trap of.

      • says

        I think it is so easy isn’t it! I feel overwhelmed a lot with pinterest and have to take a step back and realise that i can’t compete with all those things and people ha. x
        Keri-Anne recently posted…Golden crownsMy Profile

  10. Tanya C says

    We do the same thing! Sometimes I take a little inspiration from pinterest as some ideas are great for different materials to use. Other than that we just plonk lots of crafting bits on the table and get creative! :)

  11. says

    I let mine freestyle it a lot, they don’t like the overly structured stuff so I let them get on with it – plus, I am quite bad at making stylish looking crafts myself. However, I do still put them on Pinterest!! Always worth a try! I do get traffic through there for some of our very freestyle crafts actually, mainly the junk modelling. I’m sure if our crafts looked better we would get more, but for now we are staying quite freestyle. Love the dinosaur tree btw :)
    anna recently posted…135 Book Recommendations for ToddlersMy Profile

  12. says

    Sadly my kids are a little too old for ‘free crafting’ but every now and again when their little cousins come round they delve in too….any excuse! I spotted a post about making your own snow today – shaving foam and cornflour which sounds brill for any age, watch this space!