The biggest mistake during toddler art projects

The biggest mistake during toddler art projects

You’ve laid out all the supplies. You planned out each step. You know what it’s going to look like and where you’ll proudly display it. And then the toddler enters the room. No matter what you do to prepare, you will inevitably face the same mistake with all toddler art projects.

What could possibly go wrong?

The paint might spill. Clothes get stained. Perfectionist children freak out that their drawing isn’t what they wanted.

Yes, these all are very real things that happen during a toddler art project, but they are pale in comparison to the true problem.

While we want to believe we are the best parent ever – and really, we are – we are all destined to make the same mistake: not letting go. As soon as the project begins, our instinct to help with every step kicks in. But we must resist and give control back to the kids.

My daughter gets extremely frustrated when she is disappointed with her art. She’ll beg me to do it for her. She becomes so upset that she quits; I get it, I really do. This is why I usually go ahead and draw whatever she is asking me to.

Does that actually help her? Yes and no. Yes, she continues to learn that I will be there to support her. But it also tells her that she doesn’t need to learn from her mistakes, that someone else will come along and fix them for her. Granted, she’s five, and it’s not like drawing a penguin is a huge life lesson, but we are planting the seeds for their confidence and personalities.

There’s another way our hesitance to let go during art can rear its ugly head. We want to jump in because their interpretation of the project doesn’t match up with our vision. If you’re Type A, it can be difficult to watch your kids to use too much glue or pick the entirely wrong color for grass. I’ve learned, as we’ve done more and more toddler art projects, that simply going with the flow takes the stress away. Instead of saying “You know the sky isn’t brown, right?” ask “That’s a unique choice! What made you think of it?”. Who knows, maybe they have a fun reason. Or, maybe that’s just the crayon closest to them. For the record, always get the Ultra Washable crayons and markers. You don’t even need to ask how I know.

At the end of the day, we choose to do toddler art projects because they’re supposed to be enjoyable for everyone involved. But when we are asked, or feel compelled, to jump in and take over, take a moment to decide if that truly is what’s best. You will probably find that your kid is more than capable of creating something wonderful on their own (even if it’s a bit more unconventional that anticipated).

Are you guilty of not letting go during projects? Share in the comments below!

DIY wreath with springtime flowers

DIY wreath with springtime flowers

There’s something about wreaths that just make a home feel put together. You can incorporate elements of the season or holidays, and proudly display on your door, over a mantel, or – as is the case with our spring wreath – in my daughter’s bedroom. It’s surprisingly easy to make your DIY wreath full of springtime flowers.

What you’ll need

  • Wreath form (I like a smaller frame, like this 9-inch recycled foam)
  • Ribbon – the wider, the better
  • Faux flowers
    • Consider one longer garland along with smaller bouquets
  • Hot glue or tacky glue
  • Scissors

To make life easier, I have all the supplies (minus the glue and scissors) available in the Spring wreath craft kit

Time to put together your DIY wreath

  1. Wrap wreath form with ribbon, using glue to keep it in place
  2. Wrap long garland around the wreath. Tuck the ends into the folds of the ribbon and add glue to prevent lifting away from the form
  3. Cut down your single flowers or bouquets to single flowers, or flower with a small bit of greenery
  4. Tuck flowers into the folds of the ribbon
  5. Add hot glue to the inside of the folds to lock in place
  6. Hang up and enjoy

My 5 year old daughter absolutely loved this project. We were able to pick the flowers together, and she liked helping to tuck them into the ribbon. I handled the hot glue to keep her little fingers safe, but she felt completely engaged with this DIY wreath craft.

At only 9 inches, it’s smaller than a typical front door wreath, which made it a perfect fit for her bedroom. As soon as the glue cooled, she ran upstairs and put it above her bed.

I would love to see your creations! Be sure to share your finished DIY wreath with me on Instagram @happy.little.chaos, and tag with #HappyLittleChaos.

Share your tips or questions below!

Rainbow craft: Styled 3 ways

Rainbow craft: Styled 3 ways

With warmer weather finally on the horizon, the rainbow craft kit is here to brighten your days. I love this kit because it allows for so many variations to fully customize. You can even split the layers to create two full products!

With a blank canvas (made from 110# white cardstock, this stuff is heavy duty), your rainbow craft is just waiting for your creativity. Color with crayons, markers, pastels, watercolor – even pour glitter all over parents, choose this at your own risk. Pick your favorite colors and get to work!

1. Use it all

You have 6 layers ready to make a bold and colorful rainbow. My daughter is true to the ROY G BIV (well, in this case, ROY G BP), so she will always choose to make the biggest rainbow she can. Of course, you can branch out and use a less traditional color scheme that works with your imagination or decor.

2. Light up shadow box

Turn your rainbow into a darling nightlight, or a twinkling piece of art.

This works best when you use more layers, and I strongly recommend adding the back square layer (or making your own out of your favorite paper you have). Note: I couldn’t convince my daughter to add it. The back layer help lessens the points of light.

To make your shadow box, you will need:

  • square adhesive tape
  • LED fairy lights
  • shadow box
  • Extra cardstock to fill in the difference between the size of the rainbow layers (approximately 5.75×5.75) and the frame
  1. Place your layers in order (again, I suggest using the back layer with this one!)
  2. Use square adhesive tape (to help create extra depth) to assemble regular glue or double-sided tape can work, too
  3. Circle LED lights on the back layer and tape them down to keep them hidden and in place
  4. If you are using an extra piece of cardstock so your finished product fills in the entire space of your frame (I used a pink foil kraft board), use your adhesive to place your rainbow and lights in the center
  5. Close the frame and be sure to keep the switch for the lights on the back (you may need to cut a small piece of the frame backing if it won’t close)
  6. Turn on the lights and admire

3. Less is more

Into a more minimal look? Or maybe you want to split a kit between siblings or friends. Because there are 6 layers in the rainbow and 2 different frames, you can easily divide and conquer.

Separate by size (small vs large) or every other layer for a more open look. Either way, you are sure to find your magical rainbow.

No matter how you style your rainbow craft kit, you will have a piece of happiness. Whimsical and joyful, your rainbow will bring a smile to all who admire it.

Valentine crafts for kids

Valentine crafts for kids

As I started to create my Valentine crafts for kids kits, I thought about what I wanted to say with the collection. I love the holiday because it reminds us all to pause and focus on the love, romantic and platonic, in our lives.

What the world needs now…

I am not going to pretend that a few crafts are going to solve the problems of the world, but I do believe that we should spread love when we can. This Valentine’s Day I wanted to highlight different traditions from around the globe. While each have their unique ways to celebrate, the intention of bringing joy is universal.

It was really important to me to spend the day focused on our similarities. We all want to feel loved. We all want to share love. And that’s what I hope my Valentine’s Day collection will do.

Crafts

While researching traditions, I found two that really stuck out to me: Wales and the Love Spoons and South Africa and hearts pinned on their sleeves.

Love Spoons have been historically given as symbols of affection. They were intricately carved and gifted to their loves. I read that this tradition started in the cold months during the 1600s, because let’s be frank, it’s not like they had a lot of options for entertainment. There wasn’t any Bridgerton to binge.

With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun, unique gift for kids to give to their friends, parents, grandparents, teachers – you name it. With hearts in various sizes and textures, there are so many options on how to customize.

Young women in South Africa will pin the names of their sweethearts to their sleeves. This is said to be a way women will proclaim their crushes for the first time if that’s not a Nancy Meyers film waiting to happen, I don’t know what is.

Because I have 2 kids who I do not trust around safety pins, I decided to adapt this tradition into a bracelet. Layered hearts create the charm, and a colorful string lets you find the perfect size. You can even write the name of your own sweetheart on the back, keeping them near.

Give the love

This Valentine’s Day, whether you typically go all out or ignore the holiday, I suggest you do whatever you can to brighten someone’s day. Take just a few minutes to let them know how important they are. I promise you that is always worthwhile.

Introducing Happy Little Crafts for kids

Introducing Happy Little Crafts for kids

I have a confession to make: I am not a Pinterest mom. I would love to say that I have beautifully structured days for my kids; we do science experiments and arts and crafts each day. But we just don’t. When my daughter’s school closed down last March for COVID, I thought this is it! I can be that mom. Turns out, after about a week or so, the exhaustion of planning and shopping for everything caught up with me. I needed easy. So with that in mind, I created Happy Little Crafts.

How can Happy Little Crafts help me?

Excellent question! My goal with Happy Little Crafts is to make craft kits that are fun for kids, but easy for parents. No need to plan or run to the store to get everything (because let’s face it, no matter what, we always forget that one important item). Instead, all you will need is neatly packaged and ready for assembly.

What kind of crafts will there be?

So far, I’m focusing on holiday and seasonal craft kits. The Thanksgiving Craft Bag was my first kit, and I received a lot of positive feedback from it, and many requests for Christmas crafts (stay tuned- those will launch soon!).

My dream is to eventually have a monthly subscription kit to make it even easier for parents (or to give as gifts!). Set up an account, and have a craft box magically arrive at your home each month without needing to do anything else – how easy is that?!

What crafts for kids do you want to see?

One thing that has been so fun is to hear requests for upcoming kits. I’ve had generic “please make winter kits” to specific craft ideas. I love hearing how families want to incorporate crafts into their celebrations.

I want to hear from you – what do you want? Parenting is hard. Parenting during a pandemic is harder. I am here to make it a bit less complicated for you! Post any and all suggestions below.

A digital portrait request

A digital portrait request

The other night a friend sent me a text and asked if I could turn her family picture into a faceless digital portrait. While I’ve seen them before, I had never attempted to make one myself. I decided to give it a try and was quickly hooked with the final result!

What the heck is a faceless digital portrait, anyway?

Odds are you have seen them online before. A faceless digital portrait is a drawing of family, friends, or even pets, but without any facial features. Truth be told, this is probably why I love making them so much – no matter how much practice I do I have never been able to illustrate eyes. Or mouths. Or noses.

Most often faceless portraits are rougher, sketchier illustrations rather than very polished art pieces. You’ll see colors outside lines and streaks in pigment. The edges may look a bit uneven, and if there is a background, it often is a watercolor inspired hue.

Ok, but…why?

True, the objects don’t have any facial features (which confuses my 5 year old to no end -she keeps telling me my art isn’t complete without eyes and ears. Apparently to her mouths aren’t important, which is surprising since she is always talking).

I love this style because it makes a favorite picture a work of art. Even without these defining features, everyone is still recognizable – It is the relationship between the subjects that is captured.

My friend who first sparked this idea sent me a picture of her portrait printed and framed (she used Costco Photo Center, and I cannot recommend them enough!). Seeing it displayed in her home makes me so happy! Knowing that my art is a part of telling their family story is an honor I don’t take lightly.

As we are all looking to shop small this year, I would love for you to consider letting me create portraits for your friends and family.