I try to work it in though, because my kids love it, too. Which brings me to another thing I love: The public library. Tax dollars at work! And I found out a few weeks ago that my local county library actually has a "Preschoolers 'n' Art" program. I think it's even a monthly thing! So I called up my sister-in-law to see if she could take the youngest two monkeys for an hour, and Monkey1 and I had a date.
Now, this was just a week or two ago. But rather than having a project to do with Valentine's Day (the holiday in closest proximity) they decided to do Mardi Gras. So we read a very bizarre story called The Green-Tailed Mouse, about a bunch of field mice who decide to throw a Mardi Gras party. At midnight they all put on their scary masks they've made, but they forget to take them off. So they spend a long, long time running about, jumping out and scaring one another. Then finally someone comes along to remind them to take off their masks, and life goes back to being happy, and no one is frightened any more. Great stuff. (The librarian said she had to look really hard to find a story about Mardi Gras. Why they didn't just do Valentine's Day, I don't know).
Anywho, so the craft project was masks. And a local artist, who happens to be originally from Argentina, was there to help give the children some ideas and guidance in their crafting. She showed a few slides of some carved wooden masks made by a fellow artist in Argentina. There was a really cool one that was the lower half of a jaguar's face. I thought that would be neat!
The last picture she showed was of a red devil-type thing, with three horns coming out the top of its head. Guess which mask Monkey1 wanted to reproduce.
He asked me to cut out "big, purple teeth." I suggested the google eyes when we got home, hoping it wouldn't look quite so menacing. I think it helped, a bit.
I stuck holes in it with a knitting needle, so he could see, and coated it with a layer of Modge Podge to enhance the durability. He was extremely pleased with his mask. And I must say that, despite some misgivings regarding his chosen form of self-expression, he and I had a lot of fun putting it together, and enjoyed spending some time together just being creative. And, as a bonus, I didn't have to clean up the mess when we were done!
I did have to go buy some craft feathers, though, and they have subsequently been stuck all over numerous objects all over the house. Monkey2 got to make herself a hat:
which was consolation for not having gotten to come with us.
All of which is to say, if you have a young child who likes art, check out the local library. It's a fun, easy way to do some crafts with your child, and not have to worry about the mess. That works for me!