When M was little, I stocked up on markers, crayons and other basic craft supplies. I had visions of us sitting at the table together, gluing and colouring and making little projects together.
Fast forward to reality…M’s not big on arts and crafts. Even in pre-school, when other kids were drawing figures and animals, he would scribble a few lines onto his Mother’s Day card or whatever they were making. I have long reconciled myself to the fact that it isn’t his thing.
The odd time he expresses the remotest interest in anything “artsy crafty”, I am all over it. That why we have several different kits of those little plastic tubes that kids can make designs with and then iron them so they stick together. Not to mention the pictures that you make with sticky pieces – paint by numbers with little pieces of coloured foam. And 5 or 6 wooden puzzles with a jillion pieces that are made of balsa wood and inevitably a piece breaks and you have to throw the whole thing out. Most of these sorts of things are not very expensive, which is good, because M generally loses interest fairly quickly.
On a previous trip to Michael’s (I am a frequent visitor), he asked me to buy him a book, Papertoy Monsters. I hesitated because it was $20. But he gave me the “pretty please, I won’t ask for anything else” treatment and batted his eyelashes at me. I folded like a cheap deck of cards.
We got the book home, he flipped through it and moved onto something else. So it sat on his bookshelf, untouched for several weeks
Tonight, he got the book out again and started working on making some of the “monsters.” I got a better look at the book and I have to say it is pretty cool. It comes with over 50 templates to make pre-printed paper figures. Plus some blanks to make your own.
The nice thing about the book is that it has clear directions – this is particularly good for someone like M who can get easily frustrated. The template pages rip out to make it easier to punch out the various pieces, but the page with the directions stays in the book. So even if M punches out one of the figures and doesn’t finish it, he can just go back to the book and pick up where he left off. I can’t count the number of times that M has set something aside and by the time he goes back to it, the directions have been misplaced. The critters are printed on card stock paper which is easy to fold and manipulate but doesn’t rip or tear easily.
The various figures were made by a number of different artists, so they all look different. Each creature has a catchy name and a short back story, which adds to the appeal. M was quite tickled by Octopup, who among other things, is a tap dance prodigy.
The templates are all pre-scored. M had no problem removing the various pieces. The only thing he needed to put them together was glue – we used a glue stick and white glue. M doesn’t like to get his fingers messy, so I did most of the gluing. In less than an hour, he got 4 little figures put together. He started with the easiest ones – the level of difficulty is clearly marked on each project. Apparently, we have to finish the easy figures before we can move onto harder ones. Some of them look quite difficult so I can’t see that M is going to outgrow the book anytime soon.
I know M and I will never sit around making picture frames out of popsicle sticks or hand weaving bookmarks as Christmas gifts for family members. But we can always make a few monsters together.