Do you ever stamp with your kids? What do you think? Love it or hate it? Okay, I know that question sounds really bad. Hate it?! How is that possible? Aren’t we supposed to instill within our children a love of creativity? And stamping is such a fun hobby to do together.
But then comes the mess and the chaos. Your five year old thinks nothing of using 5 packages of pearl beads for just one of her amazing projects. She punches a hole (or thirty) through your last piece of Mint Macaron card stock. And breaks your punch in the process. Clear stamps are “somewhere,” perhaps never to be found again. And we haven’t even touched the mess that the ink could make.
Yes, crafting with young ones can turn into chaos in seconds. I don’t do it often because it turns my calm, soothing hobby into a whirlwind of stress. But I don’t want to stop stamping with them. You should see how they beam when they’re with me. It’s their special time and goodness has their creativity grown. But most importantly, it builds their confidence and my relationship strengthens with them every time we stamp together.
To keep stamp time from getting overwhelming, I’ve established a few rules.
Rules of the Stamp Room:
1. Always clean your stamp before putting it back. I’ve given my kids their very own stamp cleaner called a Stampin’ Scrub. They now love to clean off the stamps. I do spray the Stampin’ Mist cleaner for them.
2. Never take out more than one stamp at a time. After they use a stamp, they’ve learned to put it right back into the case before taking out a new one. They know that this is especially important for clear stamps, but they’ve learned to do it for all stamps.
3. Ask before using one of my supplies. Before using anything on my table, they must first ask me. My kids are especially tempted to use adorable enamel shapes and pearls. I can’t blame them! If they ask me first, I usually let them use a few fun embellishments.
4. Clean up when you’re done. This last rule has been the hardest to implement. I can’t blame them because I don’t usually follow this rule, either!! However, they can make a HUGE mess much quicker than I can and their messes are usually much worse. So they really need to clean it up.
The way I’ve implemented this one in the past has been through tough love. If they’ve left my room in shambles, the next time they ask if they can stamp I tell them “no” and explain why. This is disappointing, but they know they’re in the wrong and have no argument except “I promise I’ll clean it this time.” I’ve said “no” enough times that they usually now clean up without me reminding them. Sometimes they don’t (life is never perfect) but it’s definitely better!
Setting Up a Space
I’ve also set up my craft room so that they have an area for their craft things. I’ve given them retired inks, stamp sets, paper, and punches. They have a special shelf on my bookcase for their craft supplies. I’ve also given them a drawer in my desk (which thrills them!) for their supplies, too.
If you haven’t tried doing this yet, be warned that it sounds like a much better plan than it actually is.
Anything I give to them (even if it’s my FAVORITE retired stamp set) is not as cool as what I’m currently using. If it’s in their shelf, they figure I must have given it to them for a reason (like a clothing sale, right?) and they don’t want to play with it. So they still go after my things!!!
I’ve therefore found that the best way to manage this is:
1. Keep some of their supplies interspersed with my “good” things. LOL. This is a funny recommendation but it really works! If the kids feel like they’re using my supplies, they’ll have much more fun.
2. Let the kids earn quality stamping supplies as prizes. In my household, we have a token system. The kids earn tokens for doing above-and-beyond chores. When they’ve accrued enough tokens, they earn prizes. A token is usually worth about 25-50 cents in prizes. My kids have used tokens to buy stamp sets (it did take them a while to earn the sets!!), sponge daubers, embellishments, etc.
The beauty of this method is that you also have an incentive to get the kids to behave. It’s totally win-win!! I also love that I’m not filling my house with junky toys. Instead, I’m buying quality products that my kids will use and enjoy. I love this method because it’s a win for everyone.
Adhesive: Adhesive is expensive! Instead of sharing my high-quality adhesive tape, glue dots, etc., with them, I buy inexpensive glue sticks that I keep stocked in the room. Occasionally, they will need a high-quality adhesive and I’ll let them use some sticky strip or whatever they need, but in general, I’ve saved a fortune by stocking up on glue sticks!
Project Kits in the Mail: Also, another great option is to order your child a subscription to Paper Pumpkin. Can you just see the look on your child’s face when a beautiful, bright package arrives with everything he or she needs to do projects? Oh my!!! You have a complete win when your child uses only the items in the box to do the project! LOL. This would make a great birthday gift. Or better yet, use it as an incentive for good behavior.
Enjoy your stamp time with your kids. The days are long and messy, but the memories and relationships you’re building are priceless. Don’t forget to snap a picture of the chaos. One day it’ll make it’ll you smile, I promise.
To place an order, click here. If your order is less than $150, please use hostess code RVJET46W. If it’s more than $150, please leave the hostess code field blank.