Kids Crafts with Anna @kidlitcrafts.I’m so incredibly excited to be chatting today with the amazingly talented and creative Anna from @kidlitcrafts. Anna’s account and blog are such an inspiration for helping parents and teachers create wonderful and meaningful works of art based on great quality picture books to help you go beyond the book.
Anna’s passion and enthusiasm for getting creative with her kids is contagious and so wonderful to see and you know I’m a sucker for activities inspired by great quality kids books. You can’t help but smile scrolling through her beautiful feed! I’m so grateful that Anna is sharing here today her top tips for getting creative at home, her favourite art themed picture books, a must have craft supply list and much more!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and 3 things we might not know about you?
I’m a Midwest girl through and through. I’ve lived in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. Currently, my husband, two children (6 and 3), and I live in Fort Wayne, IN, and we love it! (The incredible library system sure doesn’t hurt!)
My favourite book depends on when you ask me. Probably the most consistent front-runner is Abbott Awaits by Chris Bachelder. It’s such a poignant, realistic, and hilarious portrayal of parenthood; one I reread often.
- I studied English and philosophy in school (not a huge market for philosophers these days…)
- I taught middle school language arts for several years before deciding to stay home with my kids while they’re small. It’s been hard and wonderful and terrible and the best decision I’ve made. I think that’s kind of how parenting is, right?
- I have a very complicated relationship with glitter- very love/hate. It’s so sparkly! How fun!! OHMYGODIT’SALLOVERMYHOUSE. Never. Again. But then I see some glitter and the craft store and the cycle continues…
Honestly, it was accounts like yours! I started following so many lovely bookstagram accounts that I was totally inspired to try my own.
The other inspiration was a selfish one. I know that creativity is important in childhood, but it’s hard to keep it a priority. By starting @kidlitcrafts, it gave me the motivation I needed to keep arts and crafts as a consistent part of our lives. As a bonus, it’s been a wonderful creative outlet for me. I didn’t realise how much I missed creating until I started doing it on a regular basis. Now I know this is a part of myself I need to attend to!
Keep repeating the mantra, “process over product.” It’s all about the process of creating!
What advice do you have for busy parents who would like to get started doing crafts with their children.
Most importantly, lower your expectations! Kid art isn’t always pretty, and it definitely doesn’t look like that little square on instagram (Check out my other instagram account, @kidlitcuts for a more realistic look at creating with kids). Keep repeating the mantra, “process over product.” It’s all about the process of creating!
If lots of materials and mess stresses you out, that’s ok. Baby steps. Start with paint sticks instead of paint and brushes. Stay away from glitter. Make it work for your family. Get a plastic tablecloth, a tray to contain the mess, and try to remember that kids are totally washable. If all else fails, find a local kids art studio or a program at your public library, and let somebody else worry about the mess!
What are some essential items you would recommend to get your at home kids craft kit stocked and ready to create?
If you’re looking to step up your craft game beyond crayons and markers, there are a few basics I would recommend (I promise this post is not sponsored by Discount School Supply… we’ve just had great luck with their products!):
- A bright tempera paint. I like that this brand comes in big bottles you can squeeze out, so you’re not messing with brushes in tiny paint pots mixing all the colours to a muddy brown (yuck). Super bonus: it washes off amazingly well with just water! Even when your two year old paints her whole body!
- Liquid watercolors are a relatively new discovery for me, but I would highly recommend them. We use them straight from the bottle or mixed with water- with paintbrushes, a spray bottle, or eyedroppers. Super versatile and super fun!
- Paintbrushes in assorted sizes
- Construction paper in assorted colors
- Kid sized scissors
- Watercolor paper
- Glue sticks and liquid glue
- Something like this to contain the mess and maintain your sanity!
These simple supplies will get your littles crafting for sure. Try leaving age appropriate supplies at kid level for easy access, and don’t forget to rummage through your recycling bin for more inspiration (toilet paper rolls! egg cartons! bottle caps! cardboard boxes!).
How do you promote a love for literacy in your children?
My husband and I both love to read, so having a literacy-focused family was very important to us. We have a house full of books, for grownups and kids alike. Our kids see us reading and hear us talking about and recommending good books. The library is like a second home. I’m pretty sure I took my oldest to baby story time while he was still swaddled and mostly asleep. Luckily, both of my kids love love love being read to, so it’s been easy to incorporate good books into our daily routines. We read to calm down, we read when we’re bored, and of course we read before bed. I’m hoping that these early reinforcements will translate to a love of reading for them later…. We’ll see!
What are a few of your favourite art inspired picture books?
There are so many great choices these days! My favourite art inspired picture books are ones that give kids the permission to make mistakes and create freely. Here are the ones I constantly find myself recommending:
Swatch: The Girl who Loved Color by Julia Denos
Art by Patrick McDonnell
Matisse’s Garden by Samanth Friedman illustrated by Cristina Amodeo
Try leaving age appropriate supplies at kid level for easy access, and don’t forget to rummage through your recycling bin for more inspiration (toilet paper rolls! egg cartons! bottle caps! cardboard boxes!)
What is your favourite read aloud book?
This is such a hard question! I usually end up with a new favoUrite with every stack of library books we check out. I think my most long-standing favoUrites to read aloud are the Dr. Seuss classics. I love a book with good rhythm; they’re just so much fun!
Describe motherhood in 3 words:
Longest Shortest Time
This is also the title of a lovely parenting podcast, but I think it’s the most apt description of parenthood I’ve ever heard.
Do you have a piece of parenting wisdom someone has passed on to you that has resonated?
Choose your battles. My mom gave me this advice years ago… it may have been in reference to marriage, but it resonates in all relationships, even (especially?) parent-child ones. Save your energy for the things that really matter; digging in your heels on every little thing isn’t constructive for your relationship or your sanity.
Do you have any projects coming up you’d like to talk about?
Be sure to check out my new website! (www.kidlitcrafts.net)I’ve been working on organizing the books I post into various categories so teachers and parents can more easily find something on a particular topic. You’ll also find craft tutorials, KidLitCraft kits for sale, and information for local friends on upcoming events. I hope to be a resource that makes it easier to incorporate more art and literature into your daily lives!
Kids Craft Chat:
We’d love to hear your thoughts on getting crafty with kids. Do you enjoy the process? If so, do you use books to gain inspiration? What are some of your favourite art picture books?
If you have any questions of comments for Anna please feel free to leave them below or jump over to my Instagram page and chat with us over there!
Teri and Anna xo