During the wetter, cooler months of fall, St Louis is lucky to have a thriving events calendar to stave off boredom, but it’s also handy to line up some activities to do at home, especially since American parents spend, on average, nearly a quarter of a million dollars on child-related costs over the course of their young lives, not including college. Eeek. Enjoying creative projects with your child is not only cost effective, it also helps their physical and emotional development, offers a fun alternative to screen time, and sets them up with practical skills for life. So what are you waiting for?
Teach them about textiles
Numerous studies have shown that art and craft projects help children to explore the textures and colors around them, and build a sense of confidence as they see what they can do. A basket of fabrics, ribbons, yarn and thread is a great way to get even the youngest child interested, and little fingers can also develop fine motor skills by learning to thread a kids’ crafting needle or try a simple knitting project. For children who are older or more confident, learning how to use a sewing machine is a great life skill. Think about the projects you’re likely to make; some machines are better at embroidery than quilting, for example, or if you have a technophile in the house, they might enjoy a machine that can import Halloween costume designs from the internet or take patterns from a USB stick. Feeling a little rusty yourself? St Louis is home to a community sewing studio called City Sewing Room which offers classes for all ages and abilities.
Bring the outside in
Fall is the perfect time to put on your wellies, take a walk in any of the area’s amazing parks and bring home treasures such as leaves, small twigs and pebbles. Not only does this give you a much needed breath of fresh air, but it also provides lots of fun shapes and textures that you can make into collages. The golds, dark reds and oranges lend themselves to fun painting projects, and you can have fun together sketching or doing ‘leaf rubbing’ with crayons. You can also paint and hide your small pebbles for other people to find; check out the Saint Louis Rocks Facebook page to join this community.
Get hands on
Among your nature walk treasures, keep an eye out for small pieces of wood that are ideal for whittling or carving. Again, this gives your child an opportunity to develop their fine motor skills, as well as setting the foundation for practical DIY skills in later life. With millennials turning to ‘adulting’ classes to learn basic skills, the more you can teach your children from now, the better equipped they will be as young adults. You can also put carving skills into practice with pumpkins for Halloween, or even Christmas decorations in a few more months.
The cooler weather doesn’t have to mean more TV or screen time; with a little inspiration you can turn Fall into an opportunity for simple crafting fun together. Keep a basket of fabric scraps, old gift ribbons and stray buttons and you’ll soon have a treasure trove for your kids to explore. Nature also has so much to offer; use the colors and materials to inspire your time together. Most importantly, get a little messy and have fun