Crafting with little ones. Hands up who's shed a little tear at their first creations - or was it at the mess? 😂 For us, it's often been the latter, but we've wised up to some great arty and crafty products that offer damage limitation with your mini Monet.
MINI MAESTROS: 0-12 months
Newborns can be introduced to art from day one, and it's great for their sensory development. Even though it takes some time for a baby to figure how to make their eyes focus, the Etta Loves graphic play mat provides bold visual stimulation while they sit or lay down. Around the 3 month mark, when they can start to focus a little bit more, Wee Gallery Art Cards For Baby are the ideal thing to get started with. Designed with high contrast playful illustrations, they're great for captivating their minds. Then when they reach the drawing stage, they can use these cards to copy what's on them.
EAGER EXPRESSIONISTS: 1-2 years
Once babies find their feet it's often a bit of a war to get them to stay sitting down to do anything. Cool Australian brand Micador makes great products for diddy Da Vincis. Their Early stART Make & Play set includes lots of pop-out cardboard characters and coloured stickers to decorate them with. They'll love peeling and placing the stickers, helping them develop their fine motor skills. Afterwards, they'll have a whole new set of toys to play with. Smiles all round.
Or host a bath time art session with the Wee Gallery Colour Me Bath Books. Rest the book on the side of the bath, let your tot paint with the water and watch as the pages reveal hidden colour.
CONCIOUS CREATIVES: 3-4 years
Kids creative skills develop so quickly. Before you know it, there'll be glitter, stickers and pipe cleaners everywhere. But craft is still possible without the mess. Kipod's a new brand for KIDLY that we're currently mad about - you end up with attractive wooden toys that actually look good and are designed to 'awaken creativity, develop imagination and challenge thinking'. (And they're loads of fun, of course!) Or let Selfie Craft Co's colour-in capes act as the canvas and, once the design is done, they can play at saving the day wearing their very own unique creation. Wee Gallery's lacing cards are crafty kit activity that can be reused again and again and again, encouraging their co-ordination.
For animal lovers, the Into The Wild craft set by Djeco includes 18 sheets of pre-cut, adhesive foam pieces to layer on to 4 bold animal templates. As they build them up and bring the creatures to life, the relief effect created is wonderfully tactile, allowing kids' to easily make masterpieces that they'll love and you'll be happy to display.
MATURING MAESTROS: 5+ years
By 5, their fine motor skills are really - er - motoring, and they'll find their dexterity beginning to do justice to their imagination. It's a good time to give them their very own sets of tools that they can use in lots of different ways. A baking set like our simple one by Rice gives them permission to get a bit more ambitious in the kitchen. We also can't get enough of monbento's Silifriends Cake Moulds - they're so super easy to use and to clean, and lend themselves to fairy cakes, chocolates, ice pops and a whole host of edible delights.
As their powers of concentration improve too, they're ready for projects that require a bit more focus and take longer to complete, like the OMY DESIGN & PLAY Colouring Poster that can be coloured in by one or two kids, and are big enough to be used as table cloths, wallpaper or placed on a hard floor for hours of colouring fun.
If you need any advice on the best craft products for any stage, or any help at all, just pop us a message on Live Chat. We're here 7am - 11pm every day and we'll do all we can to set you on the right track. Just hit that purple button, bottom right.