Saturday, June 22, 2013

Anti-Crafting: Crafts That Don’t Use Paper, Scissors, Glue, or Tape: Graham Cracker Robots

If there’s one thing I learned having preschool-aged children is that just about every activity ends in a product. 

Don’t get me wrong—I love doing crafts of all sorts.  And Pinterest has really fun ones.  But I think I’m…over-
crafted at this point. 

Not only do I not know what to do with the finished product (I feel guilty getting rid of them when they turn out so cute), but my kids don’t really care about it either—they just enjoyed the process.  So why not focus on the process?

Lately, I’ve been trying to do more activities that don’t use traditional craft supplies, not even reused items such as toilet paper tubes, craft sticks, etc. 

Many of our projects have now been food related.  We make things out of yummy things, and then eat them.  This is good for three reasons: 1) the kids still are doing fun “crafts,” 2) they end up eating something they normally might not because they were distracted making the product, and 3) there’s no worrying about where to hang it or how to sneak it into the recycling bin—the kids munch it right up.

My four-year old's robot.
So, here is Project #1:

Graham Cracker Robots
  • graham crackers, broken into squares and the smaller rectangles
  • “glue”—we used cream cheese and sunflower butter, but you can also use peanut butter or frosting
  • small foods, such as small circular crackers, raisins, cut grapes, various kinds of cereals, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds

I got inspired to create robots after my kids and I read the book Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit by Chris Van Dusen.  My kids seemed interested in robots, so I thought they’d have fun making their own.  Instead of getting out paper, though, I showed them how we could use graham crackers to make a 2D robot.  I then gave them knives (they sell toddler knives, but my kids like my decorative appetizer knives which also are dull) and a muffin tray of fun things to attach as buttons and gadgets.  They used the cream cheese and sunflower butter as glue.

My kids had fun with this and ate all of their supplies—there was really little clean up with this.  It also was a good chance to talk about shapes with my little one, as well as give him practice in fine-motor skills. 

Stay tuned for other Anti-Craft Projects.

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