Sunday, March 05, 2006

Create a Hobby Box for your Child

By Christina VanGinkel

I have said it before, and I will say it again, kids become bored quite easily these days. They seem to hit a point where they are often overloaded with television, video games, and outside activities. They may suddenly find themselves stressed, not wanting to participate in any of the routine tasks that they normally take part in. Yet, to just sit around and do nothing is even more boring than doing the same old things they do every day. Being ready for those times can take a bit of planning, but if you consider some simple crafts ahead of time, you can be ready when you hear the familiar 'I'm Bored!'.

Make your kids their very own Hobby Box. Best yet, this can be assembled for kids as young as four or five years old, all the way to the older teen years. Start with a shoebox sized or larger plastic box with snap close lid. Fill it with any items that you think might be perfect for making a fun mosaic, a puppet, hanging mobile, ore even a necklace, etc. The key to knowing what to add to the box, is figuring out ahead of time what finished craft item might appeal to your child. If you can hand them a kit filled with the pieces to make something that they will actually like, they will be all the more enthusiastic about the project when introduced to it.

If your child is relatively young, say under the age of eight, consider a project that they can play with when finished. A traditional sock puppet is always fun to make and play with. Toss a clean sock, buttons for eyes, yarn for hair, maybe a few fabric markers, and some scraps of fabric to make a couple articles of clothing, or to embellish the puppet. Finish the box contents off by adding a yarn needle, glue or both, and they will be able to sit down with everything at their disposal to finish their very own puppet in no time at all. For the very young child, be sure the box is given with a parent's time, so that they do not become frustrated at the task, and will reap the enjoyment of trying a hobby such as sewing, with a parent's guidance, often the best part of the whole box.

For a child between the ages of eight and twelve, consider something they could make to decorate their room. Put together the supplies to make a dream catcher, or a fun mobile. Beads, feathers, string, and a frame for the dream catcher or mobile, along with a bottle of glue, and they will be sure to feel like they accomplished something when they finish the task and have something decorative when done to use in their very own space. A larger project is also ideal for this age group. Consider a big box of beads and line with instructions on how to make a beaded curtain, or strips of fun fur fabric and pillow forms, to make some throw pillows to use when hanging out with friends.

Older kids are just as likely, if not more so than the younger kids, to become bored. Their kits can be as grand as you are willing to make them. Consider putting together a box of real art supplies. Oil paints, color pencils, a video of instruction on a new art technique, maybe even a kit that takes a hobby they already enjoy a step beyond what they have already learned. A budding jeweler would be thrilled to be handed a box with a kit inside to learn the basics of lampworking for example. Be sure to consider the age of the child or teen when deciding how detailed to go. If you have a teen that has expressed an interest in a craft or hobby, this would be the ideal way to show them that you really do listen to what they say, even if it does not always seem as if that is so.

A Hobby Box might seem like a lot of work to just stick aside until you hear that familiar boredom ringing, but as a parent, you know how often that really does occur. When you see how much enjoyment they receive from it, you will be glad you took the time to do so.

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