I'm a big believer in letting the kids have free play without a parent hovering around and directing their every move. That said, more often than not, there is at least one moment during a 'play date' when the children threaten to take on a mob mentality and you realise that if you don't handle the situation correctly you could very quickly loose control. Two people want to wear the same fairy skirt, someone head butts someone else, someone decides to eschew clothes and run around naked despite the 15 degree weather, someone eats the last dried plum - in short the potential for riot and heartbreak for all involved. Thankfully three year olds are easily diverted and any sadness or ill will is forgotten in an instant if you can offer some kind of interesting activity.
Yesterday Minty had a friend over to play and I really didn't have anything planned, so when tears stared over some incident now long forgotten I knew I had to think fast. I was stumped. Then I remembered some pastel dye sticks left over from the 80s I had stashed away in the craft box and I had an idea. When I told the kids we were going to decorate our own fabric and then sew it into bags there were cheers, jubilation and the threat of excited hyperventilation. I was Obama announcing Bin Laden's death and a Justin Bieber appearance all rolled into one. I won't lie, it feels good to be the 'cool' mum.
We cut up an old single bed valance for fabric. The dye sticks basically just work like a crayon on the fabric and you set the colour by ironing it. After we were finished colouring the fabric the kids helped pin the bags together (heavy supervision is definitely required for this step) and then I ran them through the machine while the kids played tea parties. I just did a quick french seam down one side and a plain seam along the bottom. I kept the hem from the valance in tact so I didn't have to finish the top of the bag and then I added a simple ribbon handle. Speed is key with something like this so that the kids don't feel like you are taking over and doing the whole thing without them.
Crisis averted. Two happy children and one happy mum able to have a quiet cup of tea while small people found 'treasures' to hide in their new bags.
Find more creative spaces over at kootoyoo.