It is inevitable during the holiday season: the children are bored. But the slump is just what it takes to unleash children’s creativity.

Give them some ideas and supplies, and walk away.

Here, three craft authors come up with ideas for turning jaded into cheers.

• Socks: Brenna Maloney, from Washington, DC, mother of two, is the author of three sock project books, including the new “Sock It To Me” (Stash Books, 2012).

She turned to sewing with stretch socks five years ago to compensate for stress at work. Reproducing a favorite sock bunny her mother made her when she was a girl, Maloney then turned to making snakes, mice, sea creatures – and, more recently, evil clowns and snowman assassins. of snow.

Some of his biggest fans are tweens, who come up with new project ideas and ask for help. “I work with (the kids) and involve them,” says Maloney, now editor of “National Geographic Explorer” magazine.

For children who know how to use a sewing machine or want to learn, Maloney suggests starting with a snake, turtle, or starfish; The Snake Project is posted on Maloney’s website, www.brennamaloney.com.

“Think about the sock and its shape. Twist it and twist it,” says Maloney. She uses the pattern of a sock, along with some padding and embellishments to make her into a creature.

• Stories: Emily K. Neuburger’s craft projects evolve around storytelling. A former teacher, she offers art and writing lessons to children from her home in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Projects for her book “Show Me a Story” (Storey Publishing, 2012) and her website, redbirdcrafts.com, encourage children to play and experiment. She advises parents to put aside interesting new supplies, such as pine cones and paint, for children to explore.

Help them “start this process of imagining new worlds and telling stories,” she says.

For the holidays, Neuburger suggests that children share a personal memory or tell the Christmas story using flashcards or story stones. The images of the story are glued on cardboard surfaces or small stones. Neuburger uses colored paper and scraps of fabric to create simple images.

“Learning to know what to include in a story and what to leave out is an important storytelling skill,” Neuburger says in his book.

She also recommends making a story bag: allow children to search magazines, maps and catalogs, and cut out interesting words, numbers and pictures. Find more images online. Plus, kids can draw, paint or stamp their own pictures.

Glue these storytelling prompts onto card stock (or cereal box cardboard). Neuburger follows up with Mod Podge to seal the footage, but this step can be skipped.

Once the images are dry, place them in a bag. From there, kids can draw cards to build a story together. It may sound like a game, she says.

“That element of the unknown and the random – kids love it,” says Neuburger. “They have to work with it. There is humor.”

• Animal models: If they can wield a pair of scissors, children can create cute characters from Sarah Goldschadt’s book, “Craft-A-Day” (Quirk Books, 2012). It provides a craft motif for each week of the year and a simple paper cutout or small felt item each day. There is a new iPad app for downloading templates and instructions.

Animal motifs, including a penguin, dog, and raccoon, are most likely to capture a child’s imagination. After tracing a pattern, kids can use it to make ornaments, cards, magnets, gift tags, mobiles, and cake decorations.

Goldschadt, a graphic designer, recently shared some of her crafts with teens as part of an after-school program at a library near her home in New York City, and was impressed by the children’s dedication to finishing their owl ornaments. and birds.

“It was the quietest they had ever been,” she said, “and they stayed longer to do it.”

Goldschadt website: sah-rah.com


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