What crafting with a toddler is REALLY like

This is the tree I crafted with my toddler today:

Toilet roll treeNow, I COULD tell you it was a joyous experience. Mother and child bonding over toilet rolls and brown parcel paper, deep in a shared vision of paint and garden design for the doll’s house.

Except it wasn’t.

If I show you these pictures of intense concentration on the face of my two year old, you may be deceived into thinking crafting is a peaceful activity in our house. You may even be conned into thinking time with paint passes tantrum free.

Toddler craft - sponge painting Toddler painting Toddler floor paintingYou see, these pictures are a lie. To show you these without the others would be to mislead you into thinking crafting with a toddler is an EASY experience.

I’m not that type of person though. So, here you go. This is what crafting with a toddler is REALLY like:


It’s half an hour preparing surfaces with plastic tablecloths and measuring paint into little saucers. It’s a further ten minutes persuading the toddler that an apron or bib is a good idea, to protect her freshly washed clothes. It’s turning your head for a moment, only to find the clothes have been stripped off and your child is using her bare legs and feet as a canvas.

It’s wiping sticky, paint-covered fingers before your walls are redecorated with red poster paint. It’s negotiating a tantrum because PVA glue isn’t best licked off a paintbrush or stuffed up a toddler nostril. It’s singing The Wheels On The Bus loudly and out of tune to distract your child from the fact she no longer wants to paint – despite only spending two minutes doing an activity she’s been screaming to do since 6am that morning.

It’s forgetting to wipe the paint from your two year old’s face and then spending the rest of the day explaining to people that the red smears across her cheek aren’t the result of a horrific, bloody accident, but the aftermath of an unsuccessful crafting session.

Toddler face paintThis is what crafting with a toddler is REALLY like. Isn’t it…..?



  1. says

    oh yes thats about right, but still somehow its worth it for those ouple of minutes of concentration and painty filled giggles, (even if they are quickly – very quickly, followed by screams and painty printed walls…)

  2. says

    I love you. There is a reason there are NO craft posts on either of my blogs; and it relates to my ability to LET GO when the toddlers take over the paint, glue, glitter and god knows what else. I can just about manage now with mine 5 and 7, but I do often have to metaphorically hold myself back….

    I think I need to relax a bit more…

  3. says

    Spot on. And with my lovely 2 year old, I do all of that prep with the motivation of it being at least 30-45 mins of entertainment for her….. and then 3 minutes into it, she gets up and says “Wash hands, mummy!” (which is her way of saying she’s finished.)

    Argh!! :-)

  4. Lisa says

    This made me smile so much! You see all these blogs with photos of little ones calmly painting beautiful masterpieces and it makes me feel guilty that it is such a challenge to drag out the craft things and the paint pots are yet to be opened!

  5. Ghislaine Forbes says

    Hilarious! I love her. It’s not put me off collecting shells and building up a box of craft (junk) bits for F to be creative. The only rule? She’ll “create” in the shed! Love ma x

  6. says

    Ohhh. Yes. A million times this. We are not natural crafters in this house either. I am sure that living in a rented house that’s almost entirely cream and white hasn’t helped, but really I’m just glad of a convenient excuse not to. Thanks for telling it like it is! xx

    • says

      I love the idea of it. And I love the moments when it’s fun. But I hate all the other stuff – the tantrums, paint all over the furniture, mess etc etc etc. I force myself to do it because she loves it but I must say I look forward to the days when we can make stuff side by side without a tantrum or bucket of paint ending up on the wall!

  7. says

    I don’t remember my parents actually painting with us at home, I guess they decided avoiding the problem by not planting the idea into our head 😛 but at least she does look happy on the pictures!


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