Goals of setting up a craft program usually include two things – you want people to show a genuine interest in your program and you want to spark creativity that leads to fulfillment and enjoyment by your students or residents. We’re here to help with five basic tips to get your program off and running and set off a creative chain reaction in your group.
1. Be Prompt, Prepared and Participate in your Craft Program.
When your group arrives, members will be attentive and eager to start. Don’t dampen enthusiasm by keeping them waiting. Before your first meeting, or before introducing a new craft, make sure to be prepared. Have all the materials you need on-hand and set up everything ahead of time. Jump right in with a hands-on demonstration.
2. Keep Instructions for the Craft Clear and Simple.
The craft process may seem obvious to you, but don’t let your experience cloud your explanation. Don’t assume anything! Keep your explanation familiar with basic terminology. While explaining and demonstrating, face your group and the judge the reaction on each face to learn whether everyone’s following you. Present each step one at a time and let participants experiment with the procedures you’ve described.
3. Mistakes And Mess Will Happen, it’s Crafting!
Take mistakes and mess in stride, and expect them. We all make mistakes. That’s part of the process of learning. Encourage a cooperative atmosphere where participants can learn from each other and help one another.
4. Not all Crafters Create the Same!
Be flexible. If an activity starts to be a bore to some members of your group, introduce new techniques that build upon skills that they have already mastered. Depending on the size and the interests of individual participants, you may want to have materials for alternate projects on hand. For example, if painting with water colors, introduce using salt or saran wrap on them like this mom did at Picklebums.
5. Make the Craft Age Appropriate!
Your own common sense, coupled with your growing experience, can point you to craft projects that will be accessible to your group, yet offer a challenge to skills or imaginations. While children love a craft activity for its own sake, adolescence and adults may need more motivation – they frequently need a project related to their own lives to see its practical and useful value.