|Behive! A craft from a past Green Kid Crafts box.|| |
But it’s always been fun. Between the two of us we have a 13-month-old, a 24-month-old, and two 3-year-olds. By the end of our playdates there is always a sea of Cooties, Jake and the Neverland Pirates puzzle pieces, plastic lettuce from the play kitchen, breast pads that have become permanent fixtures on the little stove as delicious pancakes, raisins, cracker crumbs, all manner of other toys, and wool dryer balls to wade through and clean up. This Thursday; however, there was little to clean except for the gluten-free Organica-sauraus corn puffs that tasted like cardboard crushed in strategic places all over the carpet (I don’t really blame the kids on that one…).
I was graciously provided the May box of Green Kid Crafts in order to write this honest review. When I got it from my mailbox on Wednesday I immediately thought of how fun it would be for my two girls to share this with Katelyn’s two boys. She has already purchased several Green Kid Crafts boxes in the past, and has been telling me about them and posting pictures on Facebook of the interesting projects her 3-year-old son had done.
All Green Kid Crafts boxes are themed. May’s was “Discovery Box #27: Botany Box,” well suited to Spring.
When I arrived at 1pm my little one was sleeping, and so we spent an hour before she woke up evading the 3-year-olds’ desperate nagging of us to open the little green box I had brought that looked so interesting.
Finally, all the children were awake and all 4 became delighted when the Mommies told them that it was finally time to gather around the table and open the box. Katelyn and I emptied the contents and skimmed over the instructions before 8 little hands reached in to explore them too. The first thing we read to do; however, was to leave the table and go outside. How exciting!
We all went outside into Katelyn’s beautiful backyard. She has her own business making natural skin care products, so she grows a variety of interesting things. Around the perimeter there were rose bushes, lavender, chamomile, and several things neither of us could identify.
Our little botanists collected a little something from each plant, and Katelyn and I also went out into the front yard to grab some other leaves off of trees. This project would have been much more difficult at my house in an Army neighborhood on post. Our yards are mostly filled with rocks.
We live in El Paso. We live in a desert. There is not much leafy vegetation like what was called for except what is planted here artificially by man. Luckily people do plant some things in neighborhoods, and we were able to gather some pretty specimens.
Back inside and gathered around the table, it was time to look at our treasures. From the project bag there were two pairs of scissors and a magnifying glass. The magnifying glass was fought over quite a bit, but we were grateful for the two pairs of scissors. We were supposed to help our children discover parts of plants based on the diagram on the back of the instructions.
But our kids were a little too distracted, and maybe a little too young, to pay attention to it. Katelyn made a fantastic point, though, that doing the crafts with all the children together is good practice and training for them to learn how to pay attention even when other children are distracting them. This skill will serve them well someday in school. I attempted to point out leaves, petals, and stems, and they may have absorbed a little bit of what I was pointing out. Over the bickering over the magnifying glass, that is! It probably would be asking too much of any 3 year old child to point out a “stamen” or a “sepal,” but I can see how an older child would absolutely love doing everything that this craft box had to offer.
I think my 24-month-old's favorite part was cutting up all of our collected herbage into impossibly tiny pieces.
We asked our 3-year-olds what their plants looked like. They looked “so pretty.” We asked them what their plants felt like. They felt “so nice.” We asked them what their plants smelled like. Mia said her rose smelled like pink. Aaron said his leaves smelled like green.
Next we used the blue paint to decorate our cardboard plant press, and then chose a few things that would press fairly well inside of it: an aesthetic mix of flora and leafage. The mommies did help significantly with this arrangement… But I think at least the 3 year olds could enjoy observing the process we followed as we added, removed, and moved about each piece on the press.
Mia enjoyed this part so much that as I was rubber-banding the press together she begged, “Mia want to do it again! Mia want to do it again!”
Lucky for her, that was just project 2. In each Green Kid Crafts box there are 3 projects, and 3 bonus projects on the back of each card!
We moved onto the third project. This one was to do leaf rubbings! A plastic mold was included with a small notebook and crayons. I showed the kids how to do the rubbing with the plastic mold, and then we were instructed to compare this to a rubbing of an actual plant. I selected a dark crayon, the black one, so that we could see the leaves well, and we did several rubbings that looked very cool. Mia helped.
The kids lost interest in the rubbings fairly quickly, but there was a bonus project we could still do. And this, I thought, was the coolest thing of all. We were instructed to create a shadow box out of the little green box that our projects had originally come in! How creative and sustainable, we thought, to repurpose even the box istelf. Not only was it already made from recycled cardboard, we were now reusing it again.
I cut a hole into the top of the box and we used some glue leftover from Katelyn’s last Green Kid Crafts box to glue some of the smaller pieces rescued from amongst the veritable piles of tiny chopped up plant scattered on the table. This box has now been sitting on a table in my backyard for 4 days, basking in the sun. Thanks to our wild El Paso wind, it keeps getting blown over, but eventually the fierce desert sun that is at least good for something (cough, sunning cloth diapers, cough) will bleach the box around our small pieces of plant, and we will be able to see their shadows.
At first I was honestly doubtful that a 1-year-old, a 2-year-old, and two 3-year-olds, would be able to get anything out of a Botany kit. And it’s true that the 1-year-old only pulled on a few plants while we were outside, and a lot of what they were “supposed” to do didn’t go according to the instructions, but at least 50% of it did. And we mommies were able to tailor what wasn’t age appropriate to suit their toddler needs. I had to reign in a lot of my desire for perfection, and remind myself that we were doing this craft with and for the happiness of very small children here. That’s what was important, not that the finished crafts turned out perfect.
But they were perfect, because the kids had fun, and I think they did learn something. If only that we could go outside, and have a lot of fun just looking at all of the beautiful plants and flowers around us. No more sea of toys to wade through… Katelyn and I have decided that every Thursday we will prepare a craft for our children to do together, and save ourselves all the work of cleaning up a colossal mess with them. A Green Kid Crafts box will be one easy week of the month that we won’t have to prepare something ourselves. Green Kid Crafts has inspired us!
Disclosure: Blogger received free product in order to write this review. Honest opinions are those of Stacy Mojica.
Regular Contributor: Stacy Mojica is an accredited Real Diaper Association leader, founded the Low Country Real Diaper Circle, Sun City Real Diaper Circle, and Cloth for Everybum, Inc. She has two daughters born in 2011 and 2012. Stacy has a degree in English and ran a small artisan cloth diaper shop via Etsy for one year, but has made her career in cloth diaper advocacy and education. Stacy has a tendency to hyper-focus. Give her a coffee and a kid-free hour and she will do amazing things!