Thursday 19 December 2013

Christmas Crafting for EVERYONE

A few weeks ago I noticed the Playful One was no longer impressed by certain textures and will do her best to avoid any contact with some. A plastic dinosaur toy that she was gifted for her birthday produces the most deepest of shudders and when we attended a messy play session recently she skirted suspiciously round all the wet and mess and sat playing happily with the Duplo, casting a wary eye in the direction of the cornflour from time to time. A well meaning play supporter tried to coax her over and she instantly burst into tears. 

This was somewhat disappointing as getting good and messy is often half the fun of play and learning but I remembered working in various settings around this time of year where some children just did not want to play. At all. Either the glitter freaked them out (seriously, it just sticks, I totally understand this reaction) or the noise and expectation is all a bit much. I invariably was the one who volunteered to sit in the dark with the little ones who just wept when we went to the panto or to see Santa. I kinda got it. It's all this huge pressure to DO and ENJOY, right?

So I thought quite a bit about how to present some of the activities I had come up with for little one to start the tradition of holiday making. I wanted to make some gift tags and maybe some ornaments for our closest loved ones and a little souvenir for future years to come. However, the last thing I wanted was for her to scream in horror at the touch of glitter paint or just lose it mid hand print. 

We started slow and I let her explore the tools I thought she might enjoy working with in the paint. Some were more of a success than others but with no mess and paint in the way, she was quite content to at least try and touch everything in front of her. The scrubby was her least favourite and the green top to the sponge was also only brushed gingerly. 

Next we tried a little mark making, just to get the idea with some chubby crayons. I had no expectation for her to hold or grasp anything and we took it in turns to hold them and watch the colours as I brushed them onto the paper. This caused much whooping and chatter as she spotted the colours on the page forming and instantly, we were creating!

Then I stuck down some paper, added a little paint, a few tools and waited. It was all up to her. No pressure and no expectation. As she pointed inquisitively, I demonstrated a few moves that made some paint smear which, after much deliberating, she joined in with. Slowly but surely we produced a few pieces of art and no tears or shudders were produced. 

Supplies! (note the bowl and cloth ready for wiping!)
I had clean up stuff and everything we needed ready to go so when she started to look like she'd had enough I quickly wiped down and handed back the crayons to play with one more time while I finished cleaning up and hung the paintings up to dry. We sat chattering and looking at our masterpieces and it gave me lots of opportunity to practice some signs with her which she's also highly motivated by right now. The whole social aspect of the session was a big positive as far as she was concerned. I'm really hoping this leaks into other areas and next time the play supporter tries to lure her over to the paints, she doesn't cry but is a little curious. 

A success!

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