Crafts for Expat Children

An expat childhood has many wonderful advantages: diverse cultural experiences; an ingrown understanding of this wide and wonderful planet; the possibilities of multilingualism; opportunities to learn about flexibility and emotional resilience, for example. But one major drawback is distance, physical and emotional, from one’s extended family. 


How then, can we as parents of expat children cultivate a sense of familial closeness when we are oceans apart from grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts and all manner of wonderful people?


By crafting, obviously. Therefore: crafts for expat children. (Or any kind of children, really. This is an equal oppertuntity blog, not limited only to expat children.)*


Okay. So. First, a confession. I am terrible at art. I kind of hate craft projects. But I have a little girl. And the internet insists that I become some sort of crafting superhero, because without a degree paper maché, you can’t qualify for a parenting blog. Just so we're all aware of the facts, people.


But, I saw this idea on Paul et Paula (itself a wonderful international kids’ blog), and I thought to myself. TOTALLY DOABLE! Henceforth, I give you BABY’S BOOK OF SIGNIFICANT RELATIONSHIPS...da..da.daaaaaa! {I could not come up with a better title. Please deal.}


 


What I did:


I gathered up a bunch of supplies: washi tape, stickers, markers, a photo book, and had some pictures developed.


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I made a pretty title page with Stella’s name on it. (You do not understand the level of anxiety I had when making this. Like...”omg, this looks stupid. I’m trying to make a starburst of stickers. It looks more like a sick dog. GAH I THINK I SPELLED MY DAUGHTER’s NAME WRONG. Oh okay. It’s fine. Carry on.” Now you understand why I hate crafts.)


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Then I stuck in pictures of people and places which are important to us. Grandparents, aunts, uncles-in-common-law (we have 2); godparents; beloved granties; cousins; honorary aunties, cats, dogs, Swiss mountains, Canadian lakes, Japanese cherry blossoms etc. etc. etc.) I threw around some washi tape, because. Well. I donno. It looks pretty. And then handed it over to the baby and we were all very happy. 


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Stella can look at the pictures and be reminded of those who are closest in our hearts (if not in geography). We sit together and name people and things we see. We talk about who the people are, and I narrate memories in hopes that it helps her recall all of the fun visits we've had with our lovelies. 


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She loves this book. She brings it to me to look at and then corrects my pointing when it is not vigorous enough. It also keeps her busy for many minutes. And I am happy about that, too. 


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*Oh, pooper scoopers. You caught me. I'm trying to SEO the hell out of the phrase, "Expat Children". *cough, cough...douch bag...cough.*