5 Biggest Obstacles to Crafting with Kids

The 5 Biggest Obstacles to Crafting with Kids

(and how to overcome them)

If you ever experience problems while crafting with your kids, you’re not alone. While crafting with my own kids, writing crafts for this blog and designing crafts for children’s magazines over the years, I have come across many issues. Thankfully, most of them can be broken down into five key areas. Here are the five biggest obstacles to crafting with kids, and proposed solutions for each of them.

1. Short attention span —

Very young children may have short attention spans when it comes to crafting, and will not sit at a table for an extended period of time focusing on a craft project.

Proposed Solutions —

Recognize the signs — Most children, even those who are very young, will offer “cues” if they have had enough or have lost interest in a project. Babies or toddlers may turn their heads or look away. This may be a good sign that it is time to move on to something else.

New Experiences — Try sensory rich crafting experiences such as finger painting with edible paint, crafting with scratch and sniff stickers, or even starting out with sensory bins filled with interesting materials for your child may be helpful. (See related: 7 Fun Ideas for Sensory Bins and 12 Recipes for Paint.)

Craft WITH your kids — Instead of leaving the kids with their craft materials, and going off to another room in the house, sit down at the table and engage in a craft project alongside them. Kids are naturally drawn to projects they see you actively participating in, and crafting is no exception.

2. Perfectionist child —

Crafting tends to focus on an end result, often pictured  and stylized by professional in magazines, which may frustrate a perfectionist child.

Proposed Solutions —

Focus on the process — Open-ended art projects, or process-based art can help boost your child’s confidence. These projects are a great way to put emphasis on making art for the sake of creating, and there is no right or wrong way to do them. (See related: Process-based Valentine’s and Favorite Modern Art Projects for Kids)

Celebrate uniqueness — Your child’s artwork will always be unique and one-of-a-kind. Encourage your child to deviate from the project a bit to put his own creative spin on it.

Display your child’s artwork — At least a few key pieces of your child’s artwork should be on display in a prominent place in your home to show you value his work.

3. You’re not the “creative type” —

This is one of the most common reasons I hear from parents who have a difficult time crafting with their kids, but it may also the easiest to overcome.

Proposed Solutions —

Crafty subscription mail service — Kiwi Crate is a great option for a subscription service to make crafting super easy! Each month, the Kiwi Crate is delivered right to your door and features a wealth of activities all organized around a theme that kids 3-7 totally love. Most importantly, it helps parents spend more quality time with their kids without having to think up creative ideas or go out and buy materials. All you need to do is open up the box and enjoy!

Re-write your story — Start telling yourself that you ARE creative, then set aside 15 minutes every day to do something that makes you feel that way. Play with play dough, try a new recipe, doodle in a notebook, and in general, give yourself permission to play. You can also participate in a 365 Photography Project as an effective way to foster your own creativity while going about your regular day.

4. Not enough time —

Crafting doesn’t have to take up huge amounts of time.

Proposed Solutions —

Visit our blog! — Inner Child Fun is full of crafts that are quick and easy, using materials you probably already have on-hand. Here are some project ideas to get you started: 16 Busy Bag Ideas (perfect for ringing in the New Year or anytime), Quick Valentine Window Display, Bread Tag Monsters

Make the time — From interviewing some of the busiest moms around the web, it became clear that most parents don’t “have the time”, rather they “make the time”. The good news is, several of them generously offered their best tips to make time for their kids, and you can read all about that here.

5. Too messy —

It’s true that crafting with kids can involve some mess-making, but it can also be contained with a little prior planning.

Proposed Solutions —

Go for low-mess projects — We are not afraid of mess, but it is nice not to have to clean up after every single project. Here are some low-mess or mess-free alternatives the kids (and you) will love! 10 Simple No-Mess Crafts for Tots, and several other no-mess crafts here.)

Plan ahead — When possible, use washable paint, wear aprons, and lay down an old sheet or shower curtain liner to contain the mess. You can even save the absolute messiest projects to do outside once the weather warms up.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Do you have an obstacle to crafting with your kids that I haven’t addressed here? Have another solution? Leave a comment and share your stories with us!


  1. Jennifer Granzow says

    I would add as another obstacle is younger siblings. I try to craft when he is napping but that is not always an option due to the way our house is set up–room we craft in is right next to his room. Sometimes I try to involve him but that is hard too. We make do during this short time where this will be an issue.
    For some crafts I break the activity down so that my daughter isn’t doing the whole project in one sitting. This way she doesn’t get bored and does her best with all parts of the project.

  2. And for me. I never have all the right stuff. I have 80% at most and then it takes me a long time to get the final items.

  3. These are great – I have had for brief periods of time the younger sibling but we’ve overcome that quickly my biggest problem at the moment is that I have a little one that eats the materials.

    We tried shaving foam marbling – she ate the shaving foam, sucks the paint from dot markers and eats the paint off the paint brush!!! So at the moment we are doing a lot of sticky tape stuff 🙂

  4. I recently bought some resealable paint pots – they are great! such a time and paint saver – you only have to wash the brushes, and the unused paint isn’t wasted 😀

  5. In regards to no-mess crafts, I have a very good one! It will also teach color and number recognition, and fine motor skills. It’s easy to put away and pick up another day, and the end result is always beautiful (enter perfectionist child). Sticky mosaics which are sold by the orb factory are my favorite craft to do with my 3 year old. It’s like paint by number only with stickers. She picks which color we will each work on, and I keep all the rest in the box to avoid messy chaos. I let her change colors as often as she wants to stay engaged. Once she gets tired of doing it we just put the picture and stickers back in the box for next time. So easy!

  6. Another thing we like to focus on is that you don’t have to complete a craft all at once – give yourself and your little one permission to take breaks. Just as I take breaks from my latest creative endeavor, so can my little ones! My daughter will work on a project over the course of days – adding and changing it. I usually just keep whatever it is she’s working on nearby so she can revisit it whenever the mood strikes.

    I especially agree with focusing on the process, embracing your own creativity, and crafting WITH your child.

  7. I am going to school to be a teacher and I love doing crafts. I got it from my mother. She use to do so many crafts with me and my girl scout troop, which she led. I found that because of planning, crafts do not have to take a lot of time. I was teach middle grades which means that I will not have a lot of time for crafts with the kids switching classes and such. I am very thankful for the fast crafts I found through innerchild.

  8. Regarding the mess: If you have a garden or back yard use it! You’re less anxious about mess, the kids get much more free reign to make mess and best of all you can just hose/sweep up the mess afterwards!

    Or a pvc shower curtain is more than large enough to line the floor and put the kids craft table on top, again it’s easy to clean up – when the kids are done just grab the four corners, bunch it up and shake outside or wash in the bath tub, hang up to dry for next time!


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