Have you ever been out to park, a creek or the beach with your children and they have brilliant ideas for projects but you simply do not have the supplies they need handy? Maybe they found the best piece of wood to turn into a bow and all they need is a piece of string but you do not have any?
If only you had what you needed right then and there, the momentum of their play can carry them forward into a deeper experience and maybe, just maybe, you can have a quiet moment alone-ish (because we all need that sometimes!). Why not make a portable craft kit that has anything and everything you may need on an outing to a natural space? Over the years, we have found that there are certain things children need most often while in the woods and the supply list reflects those needs. The kits are easy to put together and you most likely have most of the items you need for it at home already.
- Box, basket or bag to carry everything
- Scissors (adult size and child size)
- String (yarn, jute twine, hemp twine)
- Clippers (gardening style bypass pruners work well, they come in child size also)
- Folding saw
- Hand drill
- Drill bits
- Sewing needles
- Felt or felted wool(for stitching. You never know when you might need an eye patch in the woods)
- Needle nose pliers (not essential but we have used them more often that you would think)
- Digging spoon (regular flatware tablespoon that is sturdy. We have dug giant pools with our digging spoons)
- Watercolors, or watercolor pencils
- Small cup for holding water (or not, if you’re sitting by the flowing creek)
- Watercolor paper
Encourage your children to help you come up with a supply list, maybe they have ideas that are not on this list that would be a nice addition. Let your children help to gather the items and place them in the box or basket. When they help to put it together, they have some ownership over it and take pride in helping to keep it well stocked and cleaned.
Young children who are still working on fine motor development in their hands will need help with cutting tools. Using tools is a wonderful time to talk about tool safety and etiquette as well as harvesting etiquette. It is important to take only what you will be using and to bury the little bits and pieces of cut materials and grasses under the leaf litter. This shows good manners as we are keeping the areas we use cleaner than how we found them and it shows care for others because who loves coming upon a space where there are a lot of cut up branches laying around?
When you put this kit together, think of what your children might need when they are out and about. What do they usually ask for when they are playing? But, do not forget to think of what YOU might need also. Maybe you like to paint while your children play, or write in a journal? Maybe you enjoy stitching?
Encourage your children to carry the craft kit when you go on adventures. It is good for their development to do heavy lifting and they feel proud to carry things for the family.