I have a Pinterest account because I’m a mother living in the suburbs and that’s a requirement for residency. If I didn’t have one I’d probably be kicked out of my planned community and forced to make crafts with my kids out of a library book that was published in 1976 when macrame was a viable lifestyle choice.
If you have a Pinterest account, you know that the number one most produced craft is not edible play dough, it’s failure. Failure is the result of most people’s Pinterest efforts. It turns out I’m one of those people, so I know for whom the DIY tambourine made from paper plates and foil yogurt lids tolls; it tolls for all of us.
Here are a 9 reasons that Pinterest is not actually a great way to find a fun thing to do with your kids. It’s a chance for second-degree glue gun burns and crying children.
1. It’s filled with food crafts you can’t eat. Pinterest loves to play with its food. Kids love to play with their food. The only difference is that when Junior makes a mashed-potato volcano and then eats it, we call that dinner. When he makes macaroni butterflies out of bow-tie pasta embellished with chalk paint and then eats that, we call an ambulance. There’s just way too many delicious-looking food crafts that your kid must never eat. Have you met kids? They will put a rock in their mouth if they think it resembles a dinner roll.
2. There are one million steps to pull off a project. What’s that, Pinterest? Kids can make an actual glow-in-the-dark flying saucer that will really fly? And it only takes 40 days and 40 nights and by the end someone will be in a mortal battle with a glue gun? Well, no, thanks, I’d rather watch Caillou. Sometimes the coolest stuff takes a bit more effort or patience. But most moms who turn to Pinterest for a rainy day activity are hoping that activity can actually be completed in one rainy day.
3. After you complete a project, it takes forever to dry. You know what kids are great at? Waiting. Wasn’t it Thomas Jefferson who said, “Children are paragons of patience. Psych! Opposite day!” Kids are notorious for not being able to wait out the time it takes to microwave a few chicken nuggets without melting down, so you know they won’t sit for any craft that requires doing nothing for long stretches of time. “Wait for it to dry completely” should never be a step included in a craft project whose title boasts “Easy” or “Kid-Friendly.”
4. Sometimes, the supplies aren’t safe for kids. I once bought a crystal-growing kit that came with highly caustic chemicals. Instead of supervising my kids while they made a rock garden that grows into cool towers, I repeated “don’t touch never touch don’t touch danger don’t touch I said get out of there danger!” for half a morning. Bonus frustration because once the crystals grew, the kids couldn’t touch those either because they crumbled into dust when you so much as blinked in their direction. You know what kids do, basically as a career? They touch things they shouldn’t. So please don’t show me your cool craft that is either dangerous or fragile or involves a bunch of swirly liquid trapped in a jar that my children must never open unless I want swirly-liquid-colored carpet. Because you know what kids do to a closed container with neat stuff in it, they open it.
5. Stuff doesn’t work as advertised. If it’s supposed to fly, float, spin, soar, pop, bounce, make noise, explode, implode, grow, shrink, or light up, it won’t. AND IT’S YOUR FAULT, MOM.
6. You never have any of the supplies you need on hand. Cool, this homemade sparkle dough only needs three ingredients. One of them is Pixie Tears. Or it’s glue, but you’re out of that. Just get thee to a craft store. It’s not your first time at the rodeo, mom. Surely you knew the craft that claims to use things you already have in your own home really means that you will have them in your own home after you visit the grocery store, the craft store and the hardware store.
7. When it comes down to it, you’re spending hours on…a knock-off. The only thing easier and cheaper than making this knock-off Moon Sand or Floam or Silly Putty is going to the store and buying the real thing.
8. Once you’ve made the stuff, it’s impossible to get rid of. You can only make so many paper plate projects before you get bored. That’s when the dreamcatcher made of yarn and bent twigs you find in the yard seems like a good idea. You know what’s not great about dream catchers and pot holders and cardboard binoculars? They aren’t paper thin. Which means you can’t just tuck them in with the pile of bills and birthday party invitations on your kitchen counter. Because they are hard to hide among your counter flotsam, that means they are even harder to sneak into the garbage. In other words, your kid will notice when they disappear. And they will protest.
9. Nothing on Pinterest is about spending time with your kids. If it has fingerprints, handprints, footprints, a photo collage, or your precious baby’s name spelled out in buttons, it’s not a craft for kids, it’s a craft for mommy. At some point you’ll realize that your child’s childhood is flashing before your eyes and that this tiny cuddle person is going to move out and not return your texts. Suddenly the child’s-silhouette-made-of-black-construction-paper craft becomes emotionally significant. Maybe the only memento you’ll have of this time with your angel. When that happens you’ll become militant about the craft, insisting that mommy should just do it and why doesn’t your kid go watch YouTubers open toys. Isn’t this time together special?
Pinterest, you slick son of a gun, with your pinnable images of smiling children and buzzword-y claims (easy! upcycled! fun!), the truth is you’re selling us snake oil. You’re pushing a false dream of good times bonding with kids using minimal effort that always results in failure and glue globs stuck to the table.
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