I'm teaching a preschool class this year that is essentially crafts, books and activities based on a different theme each week. I'm trying to stick to a budget (no pre-bought perfect craft kits), so I've been using a lot of recyclable items I've stocked up on (baby food jars, boxes, and formula containers, for instance), and I've been getting a lot of inspiration from my friend Pinterest .
Anyway, my class may not have cost a ton of money, but I'd kind of like the kids to go home each week with some cute craft that makes their parents think, "Aw, what an adorable craft! What a perfect class! I will never for a second regret signing my beloved offspring up for this! Never, never!"
But this gushing parental praise will not happen. At least not based on the craft. No, not a chance. Because you see, preschoolers are a rather "outside the lines" bunch, and following the "model craft" is not really high on their priority. Case in point. Here is a craft idea I recently found on Pinterest for our "3 Little Pigs" Theme:
OK, OK, so even my model craft didn't come out THAT good. But here is my adaptation- encouraging the kids to make a silly pig and wolf:
Now note two examples of child-made final products, courtesy of my own two kids:
Well...as an uninformed parent, am I thinking that there just wasn't a lot of effort put into craft time this week? Or maybe if I'm guessing the class theme, based on the craft outcome, I'm going with "Where the Wild Things Are" or maybe one of these books:
Now, sure, for a pig and wolf craft it is extraordinarily creative: I mean, we could be looking at genius abstract art here, that is a metaphor for the misplaced priorities of our society or something. I don't know. But it is not mainstream cute, and frankly it is not really recognizable as an animal.
So this week I think, "...I should be so proud- my heart should be just overflowing with joy at my innovative little Picassos." Instead, I can't help cringing a little and thinking, "If only I could explain to your mother that the heart was supposed to turn into a angelfish...because it was ocean theme week...and because I promise that I'm more creative than just having your daughter splash glitter paint on a heart...honest...really!"
Oh well. I honestly am happy that the kids are having fun. And at the end of the day, I think helping preschoolers do a craft is a lot like the rest of life: Trying to control everything only makes you miserable- and only when we loosen up and embrace the messiness of life do we realize that maybe there isn't one "just right" way for our lives to look, that so long as we are seeking His heart, God has given us freedom to live in the ambiguity of creativity....