Confession time … I’m a craft-phobe.
This is disappointing, because craft is super-great for children’s development, making a huge contribution to their hand-eye coordination, artistic expression, concentration and problem solving skills. And they do so love it, too. Sigh, but I can just never get the glue in the right place, or care sufficiently about the details, or sit still long enough.
Fortunately, help is at hand, because brilliant Katy Stoddard from ella betsy boo is coming along to the next Hahahopscotch session at the Brunel Museum (1st September, 2-5pm, London SE16 4LF) and will lend her artistic talents to make it a special craft-themed day!
So, our Traditional Garden Games session (2pm) will include an opportunity for the children to make their very own bunting and flags, Adventures with Brunel (4pm) will see Katy turn her hand to homemade and very authentic Brunel costumes for each child, and Giggly & Greenfingered (3pm) will be all about scarecrows. And once I knew scarecrows would be involved, even I relaxed.
Scarecrows I can do – they’re outdoorsy, permissibly messy, and there’s no right and wrong way. Hurrah! And then, through the medium of the scarecrow, the craft penny finally dropped for me… Katy is making beautiful scarecrows using all of her enviable crafting skills. But there is no other way to get a scarecrow. You can’t buy one – it is inherent in their very essence that you need to make it yourself. (It’s funny, the centuries have seen most things go from being homemade to shop bought, but scarecrows seem to have risen above this and remain bespoke, private creations.)
Now I get it. Craft isn’t simply about impossibly artistic people making lovely gorgeous things. It’s also about Making It Yourself, a concept with which I am familiar and comfortable. As a principle to pass onto your children, making things yourself is a longstanding human skill that is both sensible (saving money, being self-reliant) but also fulfilling (taking pride, developing a Can Do attitude).
And one thing is for sure, I’m going to treasure my homemade ella betsy boo bunting!