Our Happiness project for the week: the daughter’s bubble-wrap printed green boa constrictor. Of all the animals of the rainforest, this creature fascinated her and we’re just happy that she was happy working at it and stamping the body with paint…and yes, I resisted the temptation to tell her I didn’t like snakes! Here are some things we learnt when crafting: it’s all about the process not the product!

Our Rainforest snake

Things to avoid when crafting:

1. Never force kids to complete a project they simply aren’t interested in – all you will do is alienate them from ever trying craft again. Simply encourage them and reward them when they do finish something.

2. Don’t get too complex
It’s easy to overestimate your own ability (and your child’s) when you see something you like in a picture, but there’s nothing more discouraging than getting part-way through a project and finding you don’t have to skills to complete it. Determine how much you and your child can actually do.

3. Start simple
If you’re learning a craft for the first time, start with something extra-simple to get the feel of the tools, materials, and techniques. Practice the techniques on something that doesn’t count first before actually beginning a project. If the project is relatively easy, your child will gain confidence and quickly want to try something more challenging.

4. Allow enough time and space
You need time to do things right, and that’s true of any activity, no matter how seemingly uncomplicated it is. Give yourself and your child time — to think, to enjoy what you’re doing, to be creative, to experiment, and to enjoy each other.