It’s been an incredibly strange and challenging year for us all. Nobody was expecting a global pandemic to hit, national quarantines, a recession, not being allowed to see loved ones, and, more importantly, having our lives put on the line in such unexpected and serious ways. People’s emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental health naturally suffered as a consequence.
Some people coped with the turmoil by bingeing on Netflix and baking sourdough. Others started on that DIY project they’d been putting off for, ooh, the past decade. Others took to arts and crafts to self-soothe. At a time when we couldn’t leave the house, and all the family were within easy reach for once, creating something together and spending time on non-screen activities became a very popular way to pass the time, and it’s easy to see why.
There’s no doubt about it, making something with our hands is a tonic for the soul and does wonders for our mental health. Any “flow” activity is said to be hugely beneficial to psychological well-being. An article in Science Daily a few years ago talked about the benefits of art therapy on depressed patients and highlighted just how important it is to be able to express oneself and our emotional state. So when 2020 threw us all a big bag of lemons, it’s no wonder arts and crafts became our go-to.
Crafting can take many guises, and it’s suited to the creator, so it’s both personal and satisfying. Making something with someone else, even more so. During the pandemic, painting rocks became a popular activity, as did painting rainbows. But if you don’t have all the necessary materials on hand, it can be frustrating, especially when the stores are closed. Craft kits can be a real lifesaver.
Having a craft kit to hand, or gifting them to loved ones, means you’ll always have the right ingredients ready for when the opportunity arises. Kits also take the guesswork out of creating and ensure the end product is always a good one. Craft kits for kids are a nice gift because they encourage creativity in young ones and foster bonding between children and adults, whether that’s a parent, carer, grandparent, aunt, or older sibling.
I particularly enjoyed reading this story in CBC News recently about a local craft-shop owner who donated kids’ craft kits to local Hiawatha First Nation families while schools were closed due to the pandemic. She wanted to help the children because she knew how difficult quarantine was on their mental and emotional health. The craft kits were sent to keep their spirits up.
After seeing this, we were inspired to do the same. We contacted a few towns, and The Newtown Community Center took us up on our offer. We donated two sets of kits – the wooden bird sculpture paint kit and the Flower Power kit. It brought the kids and us great joy.
Nobody knows what the rest of 2020 has in store for us. Or even what 2021 will bring. But if this year has taught us anything, it’s that we are fragile and often vulnerable beings. Taking time away from the news and our phones is vital to give ourselves a mental health break. And spending quality time with loved ones and finding a quiet space to do an analog activity that is a world away from current affairs is how we can get through the dark times. Stocking up on art supplies and craft kits ensures you’ll always have the right materials on hand, and plenty to keep you and your children occupied in troubled times. And, if we’re honest, it’s these moments we’ll remember forever.