If you follow my blog at all or my social media, you know I tend to look at the glass always as half full rather than half empty. It’s just easier to live my life feeling positive about things rather than unhappy and grumpy. Not that I don’t have my moods, but I’m pretty quick to shake most things off. I also try to live by the golden rule my grandmother taught me, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” When I do go on a rant, it’s usually pretty legit.
Being a creative mom, I’m always looking for fun craft kits and ideas that my daughter can do. She’s five, so I know that’s on the young side for lots of crafty kits sold at the big box stores, but to be fair, she’s been making art since she could hold a crayon and scribble at 7 months. At three, she was even featured in Stampington’s Create with Me Kids magazine, making art using Faber-Castell’s Gelatos that I later used in a bezel with resin.
This past holiday season I saw a cake pop making kit on sale at Khols and bought it as a craft for us to do together. It required no baking. I was a little skeptical, but hey, how can you go wrong with chocolate and sprinkles? We opened the box, assembled the plastic unit intended to squirt the cake pop batter into the cute little cake pop molds and read the directions from beginning to end before starting. (Hard thing for me to do, admittedly because I usually think I know enough about any craft to dive in.)
The batter, which you only use warm water with, is supposed to set up and harden on its own in the refrigerator. Apparently my water was too hot because it set up too quickly and we couldn’t get it to squirt neatly into the cake pop molds. We had to use sticks to push the batter into the molds and even then that didn’t work. We ended up with one overfilled cake pop and three sad looking ones.
After filling, I placed in the refrigerator as directed for 15 minutes. I took them out, popped off the top as directed and handed them to my girl to decorate. We made the frosting, again just a packet of dry mix that you add water to and stirred. The frosting was thin and runny. I can say the cute little pink candy crystal stencils worked well and made my daughter smile.
Finally came the time to enjoy our hard-at-work crafting time. They were ready to eat. The taste was…hmmmm…what’s the word for it? I know, foul. My girl took one bite and said “Mama, is it supposed to taste this bad?” We even tried to give one to her 15-year-old brother, thinking teenagers will eat anything sweet. He took one look at the cake pops, wrinkled his nose, took a bite and then spit it out into the trash can.
I washed up the entire messy project and put the pieces and parts back into the box. Giant Craft FAIL.
Now that you know the background, here’s the rant. Remember this comes from someone who’s in the crafts industry and works with manufacturers as a designer. Of course, I’m a mommy, but my DIY skills happen to be a bit more advanced than many of the parents these kit manufacturers are marketing their wares to. The point here is not to have a big ego but to say, “Heck if this is difficult for me to accomplish with my child how is a non-crafter going to feel?”
Tell me, please, who is making these types of bad kid’s kits and why? What is their background? Do they have any working knowledge at all of crafting…of children? Have they tested their products? Have they even tasted — let alone swallowed — their “treats”. Are they really only concerned with making a profit to the point they completely lose site of their customer’s wants? And, frankly, my final question: Why even bother? If you happen to be the manufacturer of this kit and you happen to somehow read my blog post, please feel free to leave a comment. Honestly, I’d love to hear you thoughts.
One of my best friends is a wonderful, fabulous mom. She’s a single mom and literally lives every moment for her children. Her 7-year-old is like my girl. She’s been crafty since birth. My friend is not only NOT crafty, but the entire process of it makes her squirm. However, she’s bought every children’s craft kit for girls on the market. I asked her opinion after my craft fail how many of these kits did she feel like she got her money’s worth and how many of them not only felt like a rip off but annoyed her? She estimated the good vs. bad for her money is roughly 40% total craft fail, 50% OK and only 10% wonderful (Stay tuned for a wonderful kids craft product review!). How sad for this industry that I truly love.
Since I don’t usually buy these kits — we tend to make everything from what I have in my studio, plus her crayons, paint and paper — I wanted to ask you what you think about children’s craft kits. Do you ever buy them? Are there ones that you would recommend to other parents? What do you do when you’ve spent money on them and they’ve been craft fails?
Thanks for taking the time to listen. I feel so much better now. (grin)
Here’s wishing you a successful and Artful day!