“Watch out Mom!” I hear my son say as a cut up foam bullet whizzes into the kitchen and lands near my cutting board. It’s my middle son and he’s created another invention. He smiles and shows me his new ‘shooter.’

Yes, my boys make gun crafts as much as I tried to keep guns out of the picture, the boys have their own ideas about that. The inventiveness of it is what allows me to accept it as they are certainly using their imaginations. My middle son made a machine gun out of a wrapping paper roll, where he cut a hole in the Tupperware to match up with a hole in the paper roll and he put marbles in the container and he would shake the container to make the sound of a machine gun and the marbles would fall out like the bullets. I would have been disturbed if what he had created wasn’t so darn creative. He’s made crossbows out of hangers and string and his own arrows out of toothpicks and wooden skewers. A copper pipe became a blow shooter when the paper arrows he made would fly out as he blew on one end.

I am raising boys who create with what they have been given, and they think outside of the box and I’ve created an environment for them to do so. I applaud their constant creativeness, but it does impart chores to me when it is as if a tornado flew through the room and pieces of cut paper, cardboard, scissors, tape, and markers litter the table and floor. I am a scavenger for them, saving bits of Christmas cards, ribbons from packaging, parts of a previous project that fell apart. I love our crowded craft cupboard because it gives them supplies to create.

Tape is a craft tool, and it is heavily used in my house as my younger two boys constantly create things using tape. They use packaging tape, scotch tape, colored masking tape, and even duct tape asked for from Santa in their creations. My kindergartner made a Pilgrim hat for his Thanksgiving play using tape and paper. He completely designed, created, and colored it all on his own. I was impressed when I saw his design. He cut a circle top of the hat, made a cylinder, and a circle brim. He proceeded to successfully tape it together with scotch tape and his dimensions were somehow perfect for his head. He used white paper so he had to color it, inside and out with a black crayon and he even made a yellow buckle on the hat. It was a hit at the play and even his teacher commented on his inventiveness.

Another craft activity my boys do around our house is experiments. This usually involves a bowl, sprinkles, vinegar, definitely food coloring, spices/herbs, sometimes flour and sugar. And a sort of disgusting soup is created. They pile different ingredients in to “see what will happen.” It makes a mess of course, and I’ve come to find my food coloring missing when I needed it, but honestly I wouldn’t change their little brains exploring in the kitchen either. They are being scientists or the chef, whom thankfully no one has actually tried to sample one of their own soups yet. They are learning about the world and how things look when they mix them, how the smell changes, and what it looks like when you dump it out and it slides down the white kitchen sink into the drain.

All these wonderful nuggets of my boys, I watch them make messes and help them clean them up. Someday this carefree creating environment will benefit their adult brains in finding solutions as they face challenges throughout their lives. The act of problem solving I see going on in their minds as they search through the cupboards and closets for that perfect piece to finish off that catapult or crossbow will help them learn to create and find creative solutions as adults. And really, they just purely love it and I just love to see the joy on their faces as they create and play. Crafts are for boys too, and they are doing it their own way.

Julie Hoag

Julie Hoag is a freelance writer and blogger, wife, and mom to three busy boys, & fur mama to two rescue dogs and two guinea pigs. She writes on her blog about motherhood, kids, family, recipes, DIY, travel, and faith. She is a vegetarian who loves to cook and create recipes when she’s not driving her three boys all over town to sports practices in her crumb-filled minivan. In her past life she has worked as a Scientist and Medical Data Manager, a pediatric nurse, and a SAHM. She loves to volunteer in her kids’ schools and help fundraise money for their schools. She is a Christian who loves nature, animals, traveling, gardening, swimming in her pool, and simply spending time with her family. Her favorites are dark chocolate, red wine, and cheese with yummy bread. http://www.juliehoagwriter.com/