This is a part of Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting. It is an erratically maintained write-up of crafts that I try. I rate each craft based on a complex algorithm that graphs ease of setup and cleanup against its ability to hold the attention of a child. If you like to make your child's Halloween costumes, cakes from scratch, and other elaborate crafts, this blog is probably way too simple for you.

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Name:Alex Elliot
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About Me:Professional Mom of two cats, a dog, an ant farm, and oh yeah...two boys: a 3.5 year old and a 1 year old.
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Monday, December 04, 2006


When all else fails I like to turn to "potching". I do this when my older son (OS) is going crazy and due to a major snowstorm or some other really good reason, we couldn't possible leave our house. I suspect I will be doing this a lot later this month as I (by that I mean my husband) attempts to potty train OS. I also usepotching if I'm babysitting for a friend's child and she is very upset. If your child can pull herself up, she can participate. It has never failed me.

So what is potching? Well, first I would like to give credit to my friend "JB" for the name. It's been in her family for a long time. It's a fancy name for filling your kitchen sink with water and soap and letting the kids splash around in it. I give OS cups, plastic plates and bowls, measuring spoons, a large spoon, eggbeater, plastic figurines (ie Little People) etc. He splashes around and pretends to make soup, coffee, you name it. JB actually has been known to give people "potching" kits that she puts together for gifts. They usually include an apron and the above mentioned items.

A variation on this is to fill a baby bath tub with water and put it on the kitchen floor. I haven't tried it yet, but since my younger son (YS) can just sit up, I sense an experiment with this variation on the horizon.

Sounds like the perfect craft, right? In many ways it is, because it occupies my child for a very long period of time. It's cheap. Everything is clean at the end. Nothing new is being made, so I don't have to try and find a "home" for anything. If I'm feeling really energetic, I'll use the soapy water to mop my floor when OS is done. Here's the down-side: I can pretty much guarantee that it will make a gigantic mess. The good news is that mess is just soapy water and wet utensils so it will eventually dry on it's own. It's not so good if:
  1. You forget that the floor is wet and you dash into the kitchen to grab the phone
  2. You have a child who is just learning to walk and who might wipe out on said wet floor
  3. You have a dog with muddy paws who will walk on the above mentioned floor.
The main reason I don't do it more often is that it has a prerequisite that is rarely found in my house: a clean sink. It's a personal thing, but if OS is going to play in the sink, I want to make sure that not only are there no dirty dishes (or sharp knives for that matter), but also there are also no tiny fragments from that day's breakfast (or heaven forbid the preceding night's dinner). My secondary reason is that I find it annoying to have to dry off and put everything away at the end.

A. Elliot's Ratings:
Ease of setup/cleanup (1-10 with 1 being most difficult): 7
Attention Getting (1-10 with 1 generating least interest; this excludes dogs): 10

posted by Alex Elliot @ 6:15 PM   0 comments  
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