Ways to help boys enjoy craft

How do you encourage boys to do things like sewing, cooking, glueing and craft experimenting? A new book focuses on Boycraft in a bid to convince boys that craft is for anyone, even them. For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children follow this blog or get my book Homemade Kids, out of the library. This post is by Nicola Baird, also see www.nicolabaird.com

Do boys like craft? It’s a nonsense question isn’t it – most primary school boys I know have a stick in their hand, and their eyes on the hunt for any treasures the ground will yield up allowing them to make whatever they need (fort, weapon, power strobe, beastly bug etc).

At least they did until they were given a phone.

Boycraft by Sara Duchars & Sarah Marks (Frances Lincoln, £12.99)

Boycraft by Sara Duchars & Sarah Marks (Frances Lincoln, £12.99)

But for those families who can’t quite think how to get boys making things the new book Boycraft should be a winner.

Boycraft by Buttonbag.co.uk craft specialists Sara Duchars and Sarah Marks is full of fabulous ideas for kids to make – such as giant bean bags (with tail), fantastic Halloween dress up outfits and papier mache Egyptian mummies (my favourite). The instructions are easy to follow and put together in a way that just makes you want to have a go.

Is a book for boys necessary?
At the after-school club my daughters went to, all the kids, boys and girls, used to do supervised craft. A couple of years after the youngest left I was back visiting and stunned to see that the girls were still making chatterboxes and doing craft, but the boys were queuing up to use the playstation. There was no way they wanted to do craft any more… It was a real loss for those boys who by making spiders from pipe cleaners, foil axes and wooden stilts are learning the skills for DIY, as well as having fun. A background in craft gives you the confidence to adapt things that don’t fit, or fix things that break – essential life lessons.

Giant medals made with a jam jar lid, ribbon, sellotape and a splash of decorative imagination. One of the great ideas in Boycraft.

Giant medals made with a jam jar lid, ribbon, sellotape and a splash of decorative imagination. One of the great ideas, in new book Boycraft, that would make a brilliant addition for a party bag.

At a packed medal-making event at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green co-author Sarah Marks explained: “We don’t gender divide our craft at buttonbag.co.uk and a lot of people have said it’s bad to do the gender divide. But we felt we needed to give boys permission to do craft. It’s a shout out for them.”

Make craft easy to do by putting out the tools that are needed. Ideally only help when it's asked for... craft is all about learning from mistakes.

Make craft easy to do by putting out the tools that are needed. Ideally only help when it’s asked for… craft is all about learning from mistakes.

While my 13-year-old, Nell, made a couple of medals I discovered we were sitting next to Sarah’s youngest, 10-year-old, Oliver, who was busily making a mini cityscape from 3D paper folds…. “We’re always doing craft at home,” he told me reaching for the sharper scissors. With some relief he also added: “I don’t have to make all my presents at Christmas…”

Take home message
Seems like Oliver’s mum Sarah has got it right:

1) Do lots of craft with your kids, because it’s normal and fun. It’s also often a way for a child to get something cheaply, within about half an hour (or less if you are making a medal).
2) But never force kids to do craft because it’s what they should be doing... especially in the high-pressured run-up to Christmas.

Making the occasional gift a child knows right from the start is destined for someone else is a real learning curve for all children. It’s lovely for them to be gift-givers – Nell even made me a medal at this event!

So families with boys, maybe have a flick through Boycraft if you see a copy – I’d be amazed if it doesn’t inspire you to either get creating, or get your hands on your own book.

Over to you
What ideas do you have for getting kids to do craft, or do you have any really good tips on where to find ideas for things kids can make?

Museum of Childhood in east London is open 10am-5.45pm daily.

You can buy Boycraft from Amazon, here’s the link.

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2 Comments on “Ways to help boys enjoy craft”

  1. KathrynH Says:

    Funnily enough I’ve just bought some Easter themed craft sets from the local scrapstore for my nephews (11 and 10) in lieu of Easter eggs. I really pondered on this one whereas I wouldn’t have thought twice about buying the craft for my 12 year old daughter. They come from a really crafty house but I wondered if they had outgrown this kind of thing?

  2. nicola baird Says:

    Hi Kathryn, thanks for stopping by. Well it’s lovely to get your nephews an Easter present so you’ll have to let us know how they enjoy their craft alternative to chocolate! Here’s hoping they find it fun. Nicola

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