We made cards for their parents. Combining thumb-print craft ideas I’ve seen elsewhere, and the so-appealing inchie idea, we got these:
I was planning on making three each, one for them to give to their parents, and two more for each set of grandparents. Because I am a kick-ass, family-friendly, grandparent-inclusive caregiver.
I was planning, I say, because, having completed one set of cards I can inform you all that this craft is TOO HARD for two-year-olds. You wouldn’t think so. (Well, maybe you would. Maybe you are wiser in the ways of toddlers and thumbs than me.) But I didn’t think it would be a problem! All they have to do is push that thumb into the paint, and then onto the paper. Sure, they’ll need help steering the second thumbprint at the right angle to make the heart, but it’s stamping. We’ve done lots of stamping! We love stamping!
First off, did you know that it’s very difficult to stick out just your thumb? It is! You try and try to stick out just your thumb, but your pointer finger keeps sticking out, too! And when you tuck your pointer finger in, your thumb tucks back in, too?
Also, it is extremely difficult to press the pad of your thumb to the paper. Please note: There are TWO hard things in that sentence. 1) It is hard to get the pad of the thumb down, rather than the tip. Which matters, because the tip is the wrong shape entirely. You don’t get hearts when you press down the tip of your thumb, you get … blots.
and 2) what is also hard, very, very hard, is pressing, so as to get a neat oval. We were not so good at pressing, even with Mary holding our thumbs in a valiant death-grip. We were very good at jabbing, poking, and smearing, however!!!
In fact, and I’ll tell you because you are my invisible friends on the Internet … not all those thumbprints are theirs. No. Some are very cleverly faked. A grown-up baby finger is just about the size of a toddler thumb, you see… but SHHHHHHH. We are not telling their parents. Because at this point, even I don’t know which are which. And DOES IT MATTER?
No. It does not.
I had started this project, and we were going to finish it!!! I don’t often get that way. I wasn’t cranky, mind you, just pragmatically determined. Normally, when I can see something isn’t working, I either adjust it to meet their capabilities, or scrap it altogether. This project? I wanted to DO IT. Even if it meant doing part of it myself. Which is totally cheating, and goes completely against my crafting manifesto of exploration and free play and letting their work be their own, warts and all … but there you have it. I wanted hearts for Valentines Day, and hearts we were going to get, dammit. By hook or by crook. Or baby finger.
I think this would be a great craft for five- or six-year-olds and up. Maybe a particularly coordinated four-year-old could swing it.
A couple of notes:
I found that it was best to angle the paper, make one thumbprint, then shift the paper to make the second print. It was far easier to shift the paper than to get the child to shift their thumb to the correct angle. Older children could manage to place their thumbs on their own, I’m sure.
I drew the inch squares first, and had the kids make their prints within the frame. That was silly. It would have been faaaaaar easier to make the hearts on a plains sheet of paper, making sure there was sufficient space between them to cut out an inch square around it. You’d waste some paper, sure, but SO MUCH EASIER! (Also, no visible lines on some of the squares.)
So. A bit of a fiddly disaster-craft for my group, but SO CUTE! If you have school-age kids, this would be an absorbing and totaly do-able craft.