I’m always looking for crafty, fun things to do with my boys, but I often find this to be very challenging. Ideally, my kids would like to sit quietly at the table with me scrapbooking or creating art with their super long attention spans and no propensity to make a huge mess. Ha ha! In the real world our interests don’t usually intersect so perfectly but I’ve found that if I try to think a bit more like a three- or seven-year-old boy and less like an almost forty-year-old mom we manage to have a lot of fun.
So there I was, tootling around with mother/son projects that never quite hit the right note for me as a creative person when I stumbled upon something so perfect it seems completely obvious in retrospect. Enter: Wreck This Journal.
I’ve had my copy of this book for a few years, but haven’t ever made the time to really start playing with it until the last few months. I’d been doing a page here and there for a few weeks when Wyatt (my seven-year-old) found it on my desk and started flipping through it. As he turned from one page prompting him to do something wild to the next one suggesting something destructive, he became positively giddy. “Mom! It’s telling me to rip pages out! And cut them up! And draw all over the cover!” By the time he got to the page instructing him to drag the book behind the car he was practically cackling. “Can I DO this, Mom??” Of course I said yes — but only on the condition that he didn’t do any of the dangerous stuff (see below) and that I got to do it with him. We shook on it and then set to work right away.
The first thing we did was the page above that told us to write with a pen in our mouth. It was so hard and so funny that we completely cracked up. (It didn’t hurt that Wyatt chose to write the word “barfing”.)
Here are a few of the other activities we’ve done:
Wyatt drew this little guy using glue just the other day. Now that it’s dry I’m looking forward to using the glue as a resist and adding some ink or markers.
Here’s one of the more dangerous pages I’ve done: burn this page. I did this at the coffee table in the living room with the idea that I’d just brown the edges with a match, but the page immediately went up in flames and I had to scramble to put it out before I caught something else on fire. My husband walked into the room shortly after and my eyes must have looked like saucers (or he smelled smoke in the air) because he immediately asked what was going on. After I explained what I’d done he requested that I show a hint of common sense going forward. Noted!
So far, this has been Wyatt’s favorite page: bring this book in the shower with you. He and Augie floated it like a boat in the tub, splashed it and submerged it for a good half hour and were completely delighted by the whole process.
It took days to dry it out and the cover fell off so I had to tape it back on with packing tape. It’s also nice and puffy now so we keep it closed with a rubber band. Wyatt is thrilled by the destruction.
Have you tried a project like this with your child? What do you do that’s fun for both parent and child?