The Hell That Are Children's Craft Kits

by Ashley Alteman
Originally Published: 

One word: Kill me.

Really, I could stop writing right now. That is how much I hate those damn boxed craft sets.

Let’s start with the pictures on the box, shall we?

Oh my gosh! Look how much fun they are having in the picture! We must purchase this! I can only imagine how much fun this is going to be, making a plethora of headbands and bracelets with glitter and stickers and buttons and hoards of other shit.

Before I know it, the beast is sitting on my kitchen counter and my child is at my feet begging me to get the ‘GREATEST TOY EVER’ out of its death grip of a box.

I retrieve my butcher knife to take the damn box apart, which takes about as much energy as I imagine a fifteen minute run on the treadmill would. (I wouldn’t really know that though because the treadmill sounds like about as much fun as an ice pick to my eyeball.)

I digress…

Once I’ve stomped, sliced, and shed a few tears, I am able to open the evil craft kit. I am immediately greeted with forty-eight insanely small, easy to lose, difficult to see charms, sparkles, and loads of other who-knows-what-the-fuck-this-is shit. Crap that could have easily been housed in a soda pop can rather than a box the size of a briefcase. And I fall for it every. single. time. Seriously, 48 pennies would be just as exciting…and also make for a nearly fifty cent craft kit over a $19.95 one. However, my child is OVER THE MOON. I go with it, because that’s what you do 90% of the time you’re on the parenting ride—you go with it.

We take apart fifteen plastic bags that house the 9 billion pieces (enough plastic to saran wrap a Kardashian compound) and lay it all out. Nine times out of ten, the glitter, the stickers, the buttons, the CRAP, ends up stuck to my coffee/kitchen table, stuck in the shag area rug, to the bottoms of our feet, or ingested by one of our idiot dogs. When we are finally through completing said masterpieces, we have more glitter-glue stuck to our eyelashes than we do holding anything together on the actual headbands.

The only time I seem to notice any glitter glue or pendants that are NOT stuck to my coffee table or my dogs’ intestines after ‘Operation: Make An Evil Headband’ is when I try to place the headband on my child’s head for school the next day. We make it about 10 minutes until we realize the glue was not completely dry and she’s left with streaks of purple glitter-glue stuck in her hair and a button stuck to her forehead. Then, removing the headband beast from her hair—which is NOW dry. She begins to shriek…

…because this is ‘All my fault’. Because I….’bought the kit’…because I ‘thought it was a GREAT idea to wear the headband to school’….because I am ‘the one responsible for the headbands not turning out the same way as they look on the box’…so the sob story goes.

By the end of the evening I am left cleaning up three thousand charms stuck to the floor and trying to decipher whether or not my dogs need a trip to the vet, seeing that they are pooping out glitter glue and button charms.

The companies that manufacture these **awesome** craft kits know damn well that it’s the parents who are left figuring this shit out. I swear to you, they throw instructions into these kits simply for shits and giggles. If a free GoPro Camera came with the kit sheerly for the purpose of video taping us putting this shit together—I wouldn’t be surprised. Same goes for all toys that require the least bit of construction.

This is why I was always a fan of Melissa & Doug. 90% of their toys come pre-assembled. I like things that come in a box ‘ready to play.’ I like my food that way too: ‘Ready to Eat.’ Nothing beats take-out Chinese or a tub of fried chicken.

My daughter, Haydan, received the Barbie Dream House for Christmas, and I was worried that my husband was going to place himself in a mental institution after four hours of construction. Thank God for alcohol and a cool, collected man. Otherwise, I’d be visiting him in the Barbie Dream House Assembly Psych Ward. I’m not sure if that place exists, but I’m sure I’m not the first to have the thought.

I give up on craft kits. I’m sticking to Michaels, where I have control over the shit that I purchase. And, to be real, I get more for my money at Michaels than I do from a craft kit where the box cost more to assemble than the shit that’s on the inside.

You are done tricking me, craft kits! Going forward, I am blindfolding my kid when we go through the toy section of Target.

Related post: A Letter to My Children Concerning Their Artwork

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