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16 Feb 2017
Hail, Hail the Craft Kit

I have never been a huge fan of what I call “kit crafts".  In fact if I ever buy kit crafts it’s so I can tear them apart and use all the cool pieces in other ways.  However, there are many times where I’ve found kit crafts can save the day.  Case in point, the burgeoning Mission we support in Mexico.   The local kids love to craft, and the Pastor is a firm believer that this helps keep the kids focused and engaged.  This is why, every time I visit, I pack my suitcase with as many kit crafts as I can fit.

Good thing I wasn't stopped in Customs

The best resource I have found cute, inexpensive kits, is Fun Express, the sister company of Oriental Trading Company.  The kits may not be the most creative in the world. They're usually layers of colorful foam with self sticking backs. But they come with all the parts, easy to follow directions, and are sold by the dozen in individual packs.  This is an asset when you have a big group and you really don’t want to spend your time handing out all the various pieces.  They also come in religious themes, which is great for the Mission.  Sadly, they don’t have many Spanish language crafts, but with most of the themes being simple and universal, they double as a simple English lesson as well.

Kit crafts offer those who either don’t consider themselves to be creative, or aren’t exposed to many crafting materials, the opportunity to make something.  They begin with basically nothing, and end up with a nice, shareable project; something they are proud to show off.   This helps build self esteem and also aids in advancing direction following skills.   It can also be a great starting point for those who are easily overwhelmed by too many choices.

Personally, I’m more of the “make it out of cardboard and tape” type of gal, but the more I work with the Mission, the more it makes me realize that kit crafts, at least good ones, can play an important role in a child’s creative growth. Get them started with a kit, then slowly let them progress using the pieces as dictated by the directions.  Soon they will be taking those designated bits and making them into their own masterpieces. The important step here, though, is allowing them to do so when they are ready. 

Our amazing young crafters

The other place kit crafts are helpful is when you have a nervous instructor.  So often a person is called to lead a creative endeavor and has no idea where to begin.  Panic sets in and they find themselves with a desktop covered in Pinterest pages and a shopping list of supplies that would make even King Midas cringe.  Kit crafts allow for a respite from that overwhelming sense of responsibility.  And let’s face it, not everyone is crafty. So while I admit to being a craft snob, I acknowledge the need, and applaud the resources that actually exist in today’s market.  So hey, next time your little one asks to do a project with their friends, don’t break into a sweat or start shaking uncontrollably, just pick up a kit craft and have at it.  Who knows, you might just discover you’ve got a bit of Martha Stewart hiding deep down inside of you yet.