I have the extreme pleasure and challenge of chillin’ with my completely unscheduled 12 year old Truman all week while his brother is at camp and his dad is traveling. There are writing deadlines, phone meetings, TV pitches, and unruly house chores to be handled, along with planning a week of fun days for my boy and me. I’ve been trying to get the work-stuff done in a couple hours per day because truthfully I want to be able to play with Tru and enjoy some one-on-one time with my growing-up-too-fast dude.
During those several hours a day where I need some un-interruption, Tru would gladly cocoon in the cool basement with his bestie controller, battling zombies and mid-evil bad guys. He’s 12. He loves the video games.
I feel like I am forever trying to desensitize the magnetic mega-strip his phone and all other screens possess. It can be a constant pulling…him toward the artificial lights and sounds, me trying to bring him on back. But I also know that Tru loves to get lost in creative experiences. He just needs a really good nudge sometimes. And I needed a better plan for this week than the tiresome nag.
I was looking for ways to creatively engage him, in a not-so-obvious way. When getting my boy to jump into crafty play, not trying TOO hard, and making it some sort of competition is key. So on our quick trip to CVS on Monday I spied one of those cheap “activity buckets” stuffed with random craft materials for $5.99. Light bulb moment.
I grabbed it and told Tru we were going to try and make 5 cool things with the stuff in this bucket of bizarre. He didn’t say no.
Here’s what we got in the bucket. We added a container of q-tips, just for extra weirdness.
For the next several hours, on and off all afternoon really, Truman created 5 crazy things from the stuff in the bucket. I helped with the puff-ball people, but the rest were his creative masterpieces.
Here are the 5 crafty doodles he managed to create:
Popsicle stick poppers. These explode when dropped on the sidewalk or hardwood floor. Boys like explosions.
Kooky Puff-ball critters. Oddly adorable.
A miniature golf course and golf club, with a bead as the ball. This one was my favorite. He really got lost in it. Index cards we had in the “junk drawer”.
A funny finger puppet that Tru named “Stephano”.
And lastly, something that started as a lame picture frame I was working on, that Truman turned into a Youtube channel for Stephano. Complete with like and subscribe buttons.
The moral of this post? With a wee bit of pre-production, a slight kick in the creative arse, a smidgen of competitive spirit, and a random bucket of crafty bits, you too can get some work done while your kid’s brain actually grows rather than digitally deteriorates.
Childhood is short…PLAY hard.
*If you do the Cheap Craft Bucket Challenge, send us your creations and we’ll share with the universe.