Letting Kids Create with Too Much



Moon is in that beautiful TOO MUCH stage. She uses too many stickers (22 at last count on one Valentine). Too much glue.  Too many papers taped together in a pile. In fact, Moon spent a fair amount of time picking glue off her fingers. Greysen said she remembered when she used to do that. I do too.

You see, she doesn’t anymore. Greysen can estimate how much glue she’ll need to make two things attach. She has seen what will happen when she piles art materials on top of one another. She had those experiences.





Instead of rationing out Moon’s supplies when she drowned her doily in Elmer’s, I asked her if she needed more. What may be judged as wasted materials to us adults was really glue being used thoughtfully, albeit perhaps not neatly.

When setting out supplies that even suggest a purpose like these Valentine materials did, we often want the end results to look . . well . . . like Valentines. Most of Moon’s finished works were papers glued upon papers, or folded into fans, and sometimes ripped into bits beyond recognition and then glued back together.

And when she had emptied the container of stickers, I gave her more because her work was as much about exploration of materials as it is about making something special for someone we love.





While watching a child punch holes in the border of doilies may seem redundant and make you ache to offer some redirection, I encourage you to hold off and ask yourself, “Have I ever punched holes in a doily?”  And if not, wouldn’t the perfect time for that be the exact moment you are curious about such things?

As parents and caregivers, we offer our children an array of materials eager to see what they will do. All too often, we encourage refinement of their learning immediately by asking them to color in the lines or to use just one dot of glue, without letting them experience the excesses of those experiences to their fullest first.

Some children need those experiences before they can understand how to refine their skills and pull back on the glue bottle.


So during this holiday of so much love, I think it fitting that the Moon created in excess. We’ve got “too much” love going around and I wouldn’t have it any other way.






Posted in Art

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