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Last winter, thanks to an opportunity as part of the Target Inner Circle, I was able to ask Todd Oldham some questions about kids, creativity, and his own childhood. It turned out to be an experience that made a lasting impression on me and changed the way we do some things at our house.
One of the things that resonated with me was Todd’s mention of his family’s crafts table growing up and how he felt it nurtured his creative spark:
“I am forever grateful to my parents for facilitating our creativity as kids. We had a massive craft table that was always out where we all spent our time creating and sharing with each other. I realized how cool it was of mom and dad to allow us this endlessly chaotic and messy workstation in the middle of our living room without ever trying to tame it. I learned so much at that table. I know it can be a real eyesore but if you can bear it or find a less obvious place for it, the never-ending craft table is a terrific idea.”
The idea of a space our kids could access all the time, a launching pad for their creative projects – one that didn’t have to be cleaned up or put away? That idea really spoke to me.
Although we’re a pretty crafty family, up until then our projects were mostly done at the kitchen table and then interrupted, or hastily finished, to be cleaned away (sometimes several times a day) so that we could use the table for other purposes.
Todd Oldham’s comments on his childhood and his family’s never-ending craft table inspired me. Since it turns out we aren’t really a formal dining room type of family, I knew we already had a space in our home that we weren’t fully utilizing that we could dedicate to a crafting area.
So we turned formal dining room, already in use as a home office and family library, into a space where the kids can have their own never-ending crafts table.
We purchased a new table for the eat-in kitchen and the old kitchen table became the kids’ never-ending crafts table (which was a $20 yard sale find to begin with so we don’t have to balk at messier projects because it isn’t too precious to us).
It has been a few months since we made this change, and our family loves it!
Here are five of the many reasons we love having a never-ending crafts table:
1. It doesn’t have to be cleared away at the end of the day.
Having a dedicated space for crafts means that the kids can engage in more long-term projects, without a deadline. My daughters have been making doll house crafts for weeks at our never-ending crafts table, and I’m not sure crafting on this level would have been possible before when we had to clear up crafty space every time we needed to eat a meal or when we had company over.
Projects that need painting or gluing have more time to dry fully and any crafty conundrums can be worked out over time until a solution is found because there is no rush or haste to clean up.
2. The table cannot be ruined.
As I mentioned, our never-ending crafts table began as a second-hand table that we had picked up for a bargain to begin with. It isn’t precious to us. Therefore, while I do encourage putting down newspapers for messier projects, it isn’t the end of the world if the table gets some glue, glitter, or paint on it. Those things just add to the character of our table.
3. The kids craft together.
Whether it is the older two girls collaborating on their doll house crafts or the whole family joining in to create from the monthly Kiwi Crate box, more often than not the four chairs at our never-ending crafts table are occupied. I love watching the cooperation and the teamwork!
When they aren’t working on a collaborative project, they are often crafting side by side, which also makes this creative mama’s heart very happy.
I’ve seen the way they respect each other’s work, carefully moving a sibling’s drying painting project to the side to make room for their craft stick model, or dishing out compliments for one another’s creations. I love that!
4. The kids craft more often.
The presence of the never-ending crafts table has brought about a lot more crafting time. Instead of having to wait for the kitchen table to be free or waiting until mom or dad is in the mood to say yes to setting up the space for a painting or a gluing project, the kids can dive right in when the muse inspires them, getting to strike while the crafty iron is “hot” so to speak.
5. They have room to express themselves as individuals.
My son Max is drawn to large-scale marker or crayon projects on huge, table-sized pieces of craft paper. My oldest daughter prefers 3D creations with lots of paint and glitter glue. Lucy loves to paint and create with craft sticks and school glue. All of the kids love creating dress up costumes.
Getting to see the way they express themselves as individuals and their different sources of inspiration is letting us get to know our children on a different level, to see another aspect of their personalities. This alone makes the never-ending crafts tables one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the house.
What if your kids had a space were they could be creative and crafty without having to clear it away? Would your family ever consider making room for a never-ending crafts table?
I know not everyone has the space or the means for a table dedicated to crafting, so I’d love to hear some of your ideas for a never-ending creative space for kids on a smaller scale, too.
Most of the crafts shown in today’s post are projects from the kids’ monthly Kiwi Crate box subscription. If you’d like to learn more about Kiwi Crate, a company our family has paid subscription to and that I’m an affiliate for, you can check them out here. Thanks!