I work with several recreational groups for children. I am great arranging games, doing social skills activities, helping them   cook simple meals, go out to the movies, bowling and other such activities.  The one area where I am terrible is in doing crafts.

For an October program, we had a great day; went to a corn maze, picked pumpkins, made pizzas for lunch and then…decorated pumpkins. What could go wrong with that, you ask?  Well, I was in charge of it, which was the first mistake. The second mistake was in lieu of having the children of various ages and disabilities use a knife to cut into it, I chose to have them decorate the outside. Not with just stickers…no, THAT would have been too easy! We were using large google eyes, yarn for hair and fake “gems’ for the smile. Very tactile.  Lots of bling.  Lots of glue.  Lots of the WRONG glue…the yarn hair drooped into the eyes, which drooped down towards the mouth, which also drooped down into a frown.  They were very sad looking, in more ways than one.  I excitedly told them to tell their parents they created a melting pumpkin face.  They were thrilled they were so clever.  I was mortified the glue did not hold the items in their designated places.

I had another glue mishap a while ago.  I used jars of baby food and the kiddos glued an icon into the jar top; Mickey Mouse, Spiderman, Disney princesses, and the Littlest Mermaid.  While it dried, they added water colored a light blue, and then half of a jar of sparkles. We were making snow globes, of course.  However, when they tightly screwed the top to the bottom, the icons  simply drifted off into the water.  I had used the wrong glue AGAIN, not water proof.  The little icons were freely floating in the sparkly water.  They could understand why they Littlest Mermaid was swimming, and Spidey could have been flowing through the water to save someone, but poor Minnie and Mickey were just plain drowning!  

My last craft humiliation also contained water.  A few weeks ago I had the kiddos make Thanksgiving centerpieces using real flowers in a beautiful bowl.  I’m no slouch when it comes to common sense, so I knew enough to purchase those green hard spongy things in which the kids could stick the flower stems. First,they glued colored (fake) leaves on the outside of the bowls. Then they started sticking the flowers in one by one.  We followed a basic pattern, a tall, bushy yellow one on top, assorted yellow and orange ones arranged downward, and plenty of greens to finish it off. They put it in the bowl and we filled it with water. They all looked WONDERFUL. I was so proud of my students and their creations,which they showed to their parents when they picked them up. We all know that moms and dads are famous for “ooooowwwwing” and “aaaawwwwing” over each and every creation their child makes, but I knew for sure these were the real thing.  

After the students left, I went back to look at the flower arrangement I had done as a sample.  The flowers were listing to the side.  Curious because they were stuck safely into that green hard spongy thing which should have held them straight…IF IT HAD BEEN GLUED PROPERLY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE BOWL!  GLUE!!!!! Why hadn’t I known that it would FLOAT if not glued down?  Horror visions of the kiddos flowers floating on their side, sitting on their Thanksgiving tables filled my head.  Oh, NO! I am staying away from glue and water crafts from now on!    











For any new readers, I am attaching the review of my book by Readers Digest:

Nov 02, 2012 11:04 AM EDT

What to Read After a Hurricane

by Dawn Raffel

Shortly before Hurricane Sandy came to my town, flooding my house and knocking out the power (which is still out), I had the good fortune to download The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane by Linda Petersen.

Her story begins not with her children but with her own childhood spent traveling the country in the backseat of her parents’ car (her perpetually restless dad had post-traumatic stress disorder from  WWII), often with very little money and few provisions. Where someone else might have seen deprivation and isolation, Petersen viewed her unusual childhood with a sense of wonder and gratitude. After marrying young and giving birth to a son who was legally blind (and who went on to earn a PhD on full scholarship), Petersen and her husband adopted four more special needs children and fostered many others.

Her honesty, wit, and terrific storytelling make this a book you want to read rather than one you feel you should read. So there I was, swiping pages on an iPad in the dark in a blackout… I couldn’t have picked a better book for putting it all in perspective.



Comments on: "I am Not Very Good with Water Crafts" (24)

  1. I don’t think your problem is water. I think it’s glue. 😉

  2. I taught special education 3rd, 4th, 5th graders, and did lots of crafts with them. An easy, fun craft they enjoyed were Victorian ornaments- they don’t have to be just for Christmas. I also made these many times with my daughter when she was small. Felt, photos or pretty pictures from magazines, catalogues, or greeting cards; sequins; buttons; glitter (if you dare); and ribbon- all inexpensive materials. Use Alene’s Tacky Glue; you only need a small amount and it sticks anything to anything, cleans up with water, is cheap, low odor, safe as school glue. I water the glue down just a little, spread it lightly onto the felt, attach your picture and then cut around the picture to trim the felt to the shape. Then add embellishments. If you want an edging of trim around the shape, leave extra felt around the picture. Glue a loop of ribbon to the back or snip a hole in the top (leave a little extra felt at the top to do this) to hang as an ornament. They also make nice bookmarks attached to wide ribbon. Just make sure you let them dry overnight. They will last for years. I can vouch for at least 20 years. I have a bazillion kiddy-crafty ideas if you ever need any 🙂

  3. i was going to say – your problem is glue- as well- !
    funny post- i like your sense of humour!

  4. Loved reading this. Don’t beat yourself up over the glue. You were by far better off–mistakes and all–than the “bright” group leader who brought an epoxy resin for a project. Yes, it works but should never be used around kids in unventilated rooms. The fumes were toxic and for kids with triggers that include strong smells it was a nightmare. One trick with oasis (The hard green stuff you put flowers in ) old fashioned modeling clay will work if the containers are not too large. Happy crafting!

  5. PICTURES! I would love to see pictures! (And then I can commiserate because I am hopeless with craft, too.) 🙂

    • Unfortunately, I have to keep the identities of the children I work with confidential, as well as my family details. (Who am I kidding???? I don’t have a CLUE how to add pictures to the blog. That’s why it looks the way it does!)

  6. You’re supposed to soak the florist foam in a bucket for a few hours FIRST, then put it in the bowls. Use florist’s tape(waterproof!) to make an X across the top of the foam and tape the ends to the bowl. Then your arrangement will be stable, hydrated, and drip proof for many days to come.

    I highly recommend Pinterest for kid friendly craft ideas, just make sure you follow the tutorials and use the right materials!

    I’m a lifelong crafter, and mother of a crafty kid. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for the suggestions. I learned later about putting the tape on the bottom, but it was too late to save the arrangements. (I should have known that foam would float. DUH!)
      I will gladly use Pinterest and follow the directions. THAT I can do!

  7. strawberryquicksand said:

    HAHAHAH thank you for the laugh. Yes, pictures would have been AWESOME! lol

  8. I love your self-deprecating poke here. I too lack certain artistic skills, but we cannot be good at everything so we are good at what we are. I look forward to following your blog and finding out more about your journey.

    Take care,


  9. Thanks so much for making me feel like I’m not the only one who, on very rare occasions (ha!), can turn a fun little craft project into complete chaos. Those are the memories to treasure – who remembers the crafts that go well? 🙂

  10. What a fantastic post!! You’re awesome, that’s all I can say…well, funny as well…I can ALWAYS say more lol! Awesome!

  11. This made me chuckle. Heck, my mom still has tons of my old craft projects at home, many of which are falling apart and miserable looking… but you know what? I had tons of fun making them, and i’m sure these kiddos did, too. 🙂

  12. everyone’s pretty much stated what I was going to say. The problem is the glue not you. Anything that works is too toxic to use around the kids, clay is wonderful. But it’s the process not the product that matters. As long as they had fun, explored and learned a little it was well worth it. And any loving parent would cherish it no matter what. I found all my terrible crafts from grade school in a cabinet after my mom died. touched my heart she kept them, but they were awful:)

    • I realize now it was the glue! (If I only knew that then!)
      You are right, through. They had wonderful fun and I can’t imagine any parent criticizing it in front of the child. I have actually found someone who is great with crafts to help me with the activities. (Thank God!)

  13. This appeared on my FB today, and I thought of you. Maybe you will find something for your future crafty projects.


  14. Wow. You must be Superwoman. Unfortunately arts and crafts might not be in her powers. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by my blog.

  15. Superb website you have here but I was curious about if you knew of
    any community forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article?

    I’d really like to be a part of online community where I can get advice from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Bless you!

    • I hear that there are some good sites on Pinterest, but I have never visited any. While browsing through other parenting sites I often see great craft suggestions.

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