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Topic: Need Ideas for Children's Home Monthly Craft Day  (Read 2809 times)
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Crafty WICHITANS Unite!
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« on: February 02, 2008 09:46:09 AM »

Just for reference, I'm located in Wichita, KS. Smiley

Okay, I've given a longer explanation below, but what I need from you fellow Craftsters are ideas for organizing crafts for kids ages 14-18 who are in a children's home - both girls and boys. The girls are easy, but the boys have me completely stumped. Can you all give me ideas?

I'm afraid I don't yet have any guidelines on budget or time, so right now I just need any and every idea you can throw at me. Even if you think it's lame, it might spark an idea for someone else, so please, please share! If you know of any web site references I could look up, please post those as well.


Okay, now for the unnecessarily lengthy backstory. Smiley

My boss is involved in Rotary, and they have worked with a children's home in our city. The home houses children who are taken by the authorities when it is deemed best to remove them entirely from their particular situation; once at the home, they wait for foster or adoptive parents. I haven't heard any of the details, but these kids have had it really, really tough.

Some time before Christmas, my boss's group was doing a craft day for them. They took their pictures and put them in frames, which the kids then decorated with foam snowmen and snowflake glitter and the like. They also each made their own Christmas tree, which were about 6 inches tall. They then put the frame and a card in a gift bag - the idea was that they then had a gift ready to give someone, and each had their own Christmas tree. I was really impressed at the way they turned out. Anyway, my boss was originally having me make a sign-up list for the event. I of course asked about the details, because...well, crafts! ^_^ I offered to help out, and had a really great time. I even overcame my embarrassment of wearing a T-shirt (all the Rotarians were dressed rather nicely or in Christmas sweaters) when lots of the kids recognized Larry the Cucumber on my shirt. I may be 26, but I'm not completely out of touch with what's cool - or at least that's what I'd like to believe, ha ha! Smiley

Apparently the East Wichita Rotary group had done this at least one Christmas in the past, and has been in discussions with the home director about doing a monthly crafty thing - but no plans have been solidified as of yet. The Rotarians heard of my hopeless case of the craft bug, and leaped on the opportunity to have someone organize things. Good thing I like organizing. Smiley (I'm also hoping to get involved helping kids with their homework at another organization, because I love school and miss it terribly! It's odd that I'm getting involved in these things, because normally I'd pick the retirement home crowd over the kiddies, but these things have sort of landed in my lap, so I'm just going with the flow, I guess.)

The problem I am having is first of all coming up with something kids these ages would like to do. I don't think that would be terribly difficult, and I may be able to do the same thing more than once as I don't think the children ever stay in the home for very long. The most difficult part is coming up for something that boys would like doing - I know what I liked to do as a girl at that age, but all my guy friends were into building models, playing video games, and messing about on computers and non-crafty things at that age. My brain was already five miles down the road and racing along with how I could teach them to make jewelry (I know the home tries to teach the kids to be independent if they enter the home after they've turned 18 - they may be able to sell jewelry, but I'm not certain - if so it'd be the perfect thing) when I realized I didn't have any ideas what the boys could make. As much jewelry as I've made, I've never been able to come up with very masculine jewelry. I'll find skull beads or other things and have the beginning glimmerings of an idea, but they all fizzle out when I try to pair them with other beads or the appropriate media - stringing, wire wrapping, chains, etc.

So again, make with the ideas pretty please! Smiley

But we have flamethrowers. And what this indicates to me, it means that at some point, some person said to himself, "Gee, I sure would like to set those people on fire over there. But I'm way too far away to get the job done. If only I had something that would throw flame on them."
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2008 12:49:16 AM »

I think this is a great idea and we have similar places here. One thing to keep in mind is the children, although by a BC are 14-18, mentally are not always that age because due to circumstances they weren't allowed to have a child hood or to mature properly. So they may be open to things that you would typically think only younger ages would.
I would get them into scrap booking, here we call them life books for foster children. It's important for their development and healing to document the good, the bad, the legal, the personal, the ugly, the happy etc. If they could start something to take along with them like a photo album with their birth certificate, ss card, immunization record (photocopies of course). Then any and all photos that can be found of them as children. They can have pages to write about which family they go to when. It helps keep them organized because being pushed around from home to home they often forget or sometimes scramble in which home or at what time someone did something to them, or they liked someone, or went somewhere. It also gives them a sense of security to have their most personal items and legal documents in one place, they don't have to worry as much about going to school or getting a job if they have their personal documents somewhere they can access them and grab and run if need be.
Sadly most won't find a forever home and the day to day things we take for granted are not offered to them. You could do recipe books, they could learn about cooking, write down their favorite things to cook and how to so if they go to an independent home situation around 16 they can fend for themselves.
Polymer clay or air dry clay beads. You can string them on braided and woven hemp they can learn to braid and such and make their own beads to embellish.
Possibly in different months they could vote on things they'd like to learn, knit, crochet, sew, duct tape wallets etc and you may be able to do it yourself or find someone to do a tutorial session with them to teach them a new craft.
Thrift store clothing recons. Most of them probably have been forced into doing this our of poverty/neglect/necessity so make it a cool thing to do. You can get donated clothing and teach them the basics they will need like how to mend a zipper, sew on a button, fix a seam etc and they can use the used clothing to practice their sewing skills and make something cool. You can go further with it and make bags, bedding and such with the clothing, add in permanent markers, paints, and such to embellish them. You could felt sweaters in the winter and make them into mittens or slippers, you could take old sports wear in the summer and make bathing suits, old towels into sunbathing blankets etc.
Make stuffed animals or pillows with a pocket. They can keep something small inside that they would normally sleep with. For some it's a picture, some it's a piece of clothing a younger sibling wore so they can recall the smell or the moment.
Book binding so they can make their own journals.
Decorating dollar store address books or making an address book. Along their journey they'll be separated from their parents or guardians, school possibly, friends possibly even possibly siblings. They like to have somewhere to write down everyones names and numbers because many will change especially if they are awaiting placement, then change schools and siblings are moved elsewhere etc.
Decoupage anything, boxes, old windows, the glass marble magnets.
paper making, I'm sure they have tons of recyclable paper around a group home, a blender, some old screens and water and they can make nice paper to use in some later crafts or to decorate their rooms etc.

« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2008 11:37:01 AM »

The guys could make hemp jewelry, I remember being in high school and a lot of the guys enjoying that. Stenciling was also (and still is) very popular with young adults, t-shirts and canvas bags are great- after that, all you need is some cardboard and an exacto knife. If you could get fleece on sale, you could make no sew blankets. Knifty knitters come in packs of different sizes, the kids could make hats and scarves.

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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2008 10:11:04 PM »

http://www.threadbanger.com/  has heaps of ideas that could appeal to this age group (and mine though I am weeelllll past those numbers!), I like the face that it has a male presenter as well and quite a significant male presence on their forums so I am sure you could get some ideas there.
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2008 05:57:16 AM »

I'm going to second (or third) the hemp jewelry suggestion.  Everyone loves it, and one thing you could try and do is provide some washers, nuts, or bits of broken bike chain instead of just beads as embellishments (a lot of teenagers really enjoy this). 

Another suggestion would be tye-dying.  Lots of fun.  And if providing t-shirts or tote bags would be too much you can always do socks or underwear (cheaper and smaller).

Another idea would be making candles (melt parafam wax with some crayons in it for colour).  You can either mold them with toilet paper tubes, or just repeatedly dip the wick into the wax.

You can find lots of detailed instructions for doing these things online.   

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« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2008 03:40:33 PM »

perler beads... I worked at an afterschool program and ALL the kids liked to do them.

« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2008 04:08:28 PM »

I used to love making star books.  Show them how and give them planty of creative things to put on them or make them out of.  Like this https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=224269.0

I used to have one I made with a sparkly purple felt cover  Grin.
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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2008 07:22:36 PM »

You could teach them how to make ATC's to trade with each other. Then the kids could express their creativity in their own way.
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2008 03:08:03 AM »

the boys - and girls! - might love such things as clay modelling, matchstick sculptures (ie boats etc made from matches), mechano, plastic model kits, making cards, sewing cushions etc 
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2008 11:01:06 AM »

I'm the activities coordinator at a residential treatment center, so I totally second the scrapbooking/life book option! It's so important to them to have that to remember everything. A disposable camera thrown in with it is a ton of fun for them!

My kids are SO into knitting and crocheting right now! Both the boys and the girls! Some even said they want to finish items to give to homeless people. (Without any talk of this from staff...their own idea!)

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