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Art and Crafts Rebel

July 2, 2011

Yesterday PlumGirl and I went to her Gym and Art class.  This was only the third one we had been to, but she seems to really enjoy them.  The first two crafts she made were very open-ended; “Here is a hat and some paint” sorts of things.  Yesterday’s craft was different and the second that the teacher held up her example I knew I wasn’t going to like it.

The kids, all under the age of two, were supposed to make an Uncle Sam hat/mask that looked just like the example.  They were supposed to use glue sticks to attach white strips to the red part of a pre-made hat, put foam star stickers on the blue brim, and them glue cotton balls on a paper plate to make the beard.

As a rule, I really dislike this type of crafts.  I encountered them often when I was teaching.  Teachers would lay out all the pre-cut materials, the pre-selected colors of crayons or paint, and show the example for all the students to recreate.  Often students were corrected when they weren’t making their craft “right”.

This was the first time that I encountered this type of “art” with PlumGirl and I knew immediately that I was going to rebel.  I demonstrated to PlumGirl how to make a line of glue with the glue stick on the paper strips, I took the backing off the stickers, and I helped her squeeze the wet glue, but that was it.

I wanted the project to be hers, not the teacher’s, and not mine.

Unsurprisingly, her creation did not look like the example, and she was much more interested in putting the lid on the glue stick than in doing the craft.


Amazingly, all the other under-twos were able to re-create the example relatively accurately.  They must all be budding geniuses.

The teacher was apparently so upset by PlumGirl’s inability to do the project “right” that she added in the cotton balls to the beard, something that PlumGirl was completely uninterested in doing.  If PlumGirl cared about the project at all this would have really annoyed me, but this time I let it go.

One Comment leave one →
  1. amy permalink
    July 2, 2011 2:54 pm

    This is why I mostly avoid these sorts of programs. I took my 2yo to a couple of drop-in arts classes at a local gallery, but it wasn’t art, it was crafts, so we didn’t go back. I’m pretty good at forming a protective bubble around my kids so they can pursue things their own way, also at gently trying to explain why we might be doing things differently. Eventually you’ll find some kindred souls out there–one of the local libraries has a children’s librarian who is actually okay with letting toddlers use scissors, for example, recognizing the necessity of practicing that hand-eye coordination–and that’s where you’ll end up. However, no way no how does any adult alter my children’s artwork in my presence. Hands off!!

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