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4 Ways to Cultivate Your Child's Creativity

We're so excited to announce the launch of our newest collection - meet our Craft-tastic Creative Challenge Boxes! Designed for children ages 6+ our open-ended Creative Challenge Kits will help cultivate your child's creativity and imagination. 

These 4 themed boxes of FUN encourage kids to approach craft projects in a totally new way. They can help improve STEM/STEAM skill sets by keeping kids so engaged they don't even know they're learning!

By taking advantage of a kid's natural interest in building toys, this kit allows them to use their imagination and inspires them to think for themselves. Each kit includes 7 challenges that will get them thinking outside of the box - no pun intended 😉

Oh, and in case you didn't know, STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math - skills that kids must readily adopt in order to stay relevant in today's tech-centic world. 

1. Inventor's Box: This kit is ideal for every young inventor who wants to push the boundaries to see what they can create with a variety of materials. By taking advantage of a child's natural curiosity in inventing things, we inspire them to use their imagination, think for themselves, and solve problems creatively. Inventors, start your creations!

2. Artist's Box: How do you challenge children to listen to their inner artist? Without specific instructions, kids are free to explore their artistic side and experiment with a variety of colorful materials. What kind of masterpiece will your child create? The possibilities are endless.

3. Tinker Box:  Lots of great thinkers started out as great tinkerers! Engineers, scientists, architects, and mathematicians - they all had a curiosity about how things worked. This kit challenges kids to tinker and come up with something unique, encouraging them to push the boundaries. Will your child tinker together some greatness? 

4. Idea Box: You never know where the next big idea will come from! This idea box puts an array of materials and creative prompts in kids' hands and asks them to make something totally unpredictable, out-of-the-box and maybe something no one has ever seen before. Kick start their ideas with this fun box.

March 29, 2017

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It's National Craft Month! Celebrate with These 5 Crafting Techniques To Try

National Craft Month - Celebrate with Ann Williams Creative Craft Kits

Did you know that March is National Craft Month? To celebrate, we've put together a list of 5 fun crafting techniques for you to try because this month is all about reclaiming time in our busy schedules for creative expression! 

 

National Craft Month - Weaving Loom

National Craft Month - Weaving Loom

Technique #1: Weaving: Our revolutionary Loopdeloom Weaving Loom and Craft Crush Weaving Loom make it fun, fast and easy for beginners to get started. Unlike traditional weaving looms, there's no learning curve with the Loopdeloom, and the loom's spinning pegs speed up the process, making weaving simple, fun and fab.

One loom weaves items any length and up to 7" wide. You can stitch pieces together or connect two or more looms to weave wider items wit no seams. The possibilities are endless! You can even weave responsibly by upcycling materials such as plastic bags or t-shirts and turning them into something brand new. Check out a few of our DIY videos here on YouTube!

Nation Craft Month - DIY Macrame Kits

 

Technique #2: Macrame: Macrame is making a comeback in a big way, and it's a crafting technique we absolutely love! Dating as far back as the 13th century, macrame is a form of creating textiles and objects using knotting rather than weaving or knitting. Its primary knots are the square knot and forms of "hitching" - methods long crafted by sailors, especially in elaborate or ornamental knotting forms, to decorate anything from knife handles to bottles to parts of ships. During the 1970s, macrame was a popular way to create wall hangings, articles of clothing, bedspreads, plant hangers, furnishings and more. Pretty cool, huh?

Give macrame a try with one of our Craft-tastic Macrame Owl Kits, or our Craft Crush Macrame Necklace Kit. Learn something new, and create an accessory you can proudly wear!

National Craft Month - DIY String Art Kits

Technique #3: String Art: String art is totally groovy! While it was popularized as a decorative craft in the late 1960s, this crafting technique has it origins in the 'curve stitch' activities invented by 19th century mathematician & feminist, Mary Everst Boole, as a way to make mathematical ideas more accessible to children.

Our Craft-tastic String Art Kits give kids ages 10+ cool patterns to explore the intersection of geometry and art.

National Craft Month - Decoupage DIY Kits

Technique #4: Decoupage: Oh the magic of decoupage. What we love about this crafting technique is the simplicity. With paper + glue and a little bit of patience, you can create some really amazing things. While traditional decoupage involves covering an object such as a dresser, box or even table - we like to give our craft kits a modern twist! Create a fun + functional piece of home decor with our Craft-tastic Paper Bowls Kit or Craft Crush Paper Bowls Kit. We especially love our new Craft-tastic Empower Poster Kit which encourages kids to celebrate who they are and all of their quirks in one feel good poster!

National Craft Month - Learn How to Finger Crochet

Technique #5: Finger Crochet: Many sources on the history of crochet say that Finger Crochet was actually the first type of crochet ever done, and that the tools for crocheting came later. How cool is that? Want to learn this OG technique? Well you're in luck! Our Craft-tastic Finger Crochet Kit has everything you need to begin finger crocheting.

March 02, 2017

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9 Awesome Valentine's Day Crafts + Gift Ideas

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and we have the sweetest crafty gifts every creative bug will love. Our DIY craft kits for kids, teens, and adults are sure to make their heart skip a beat!

Here are 9 awesome, crafty Valentine's Day gift ideas:

1. Ann Williams Monthly Craft Box: Ages 6+

The gift that keeps on giving! Our Monthly Craft Box is available as a monthly, 3 month, 6 month, or 12 month subscription box for ages 6-8, 9-12, teens and adults. It’s the coolest craft club where you get the surprise of your crafting life every month! Because we make all our own crafts—and lots of them, too—there’s never a shortage of awesomeness coming your way. 

2. Craft-tastic Pom BFF Necklace Kit: Ages 5+

Celebrate your friendship with your bestie with two cute and easy-to-make BFF necklaces. Make them yourself and give a necklace to your BFF, or better yet - make them together, because what are best friends for, right?

3. Craft-tastic 3D String Art KitAges 8+

Kids everywhere totally "heart" this fun craft! We've taken string art to a completely new dimension. After it's done, this colorful piece of he(art) is perfect decor for any room of the house. 

4. Craft-tastic Dream Catcher KitAges 8+

They say dream catchers let your good dreams through and catch your bad ones... so what are you waiting for? These DIY dream catchers are easy, fun and a super good excuse to take a nap! 

5. Craft-tastic Pom Coin Purse Kit: Ages 6+

Our little zippered coin purse is as fun as it is functional. Fill it with candy, coins, or other things that you love. Other purses will eat their hearts out!

6. Craft-tastic Love Note Necklace KitAges 5+

Who wouldn’t feel the love with this cute necklace? Write a little note, roll it up and tuck it inside the pouch - then give it to someone special!

7. Craft Crush Stencil Purse Kit: Ages 13+

Designing your own clutch or purse is all the rage these days. We give you a stylish canvas clutch with faux suede, along with stencils and markers to create the bag of your dreams! Add the flirty tassel and you’ve got a go-to clutch with your mark on it. 

8. Craft-tastic Kindness Kit: Ages 6+

Kindness is a beautiful thing when you make it—and give it. Plus, it’s never too early to teach children how important it is to be kind. Not only will kids love making these 8 random crafts of kindness, they’ll love giving them to family and friends. From cheering up a friend to making someone’s day, kindness is easy and fun to spread.

9. Craft-tastic Dream Catcher Necklace Kit: Ages 8+

There's nothing more dreamy than making your own necklace, except if it's a dream catcher necklace!  It's incredibly hip, and beautifully bohemian featuring faux suede and colorful feathers. 

 

 

February 07, 2017

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Fostering Creativity in Children Through Arts & Crafts

They say that creativity is the freest form of self-expression. There's really no better feeling in the world, than being able to express yourself openly without judgement!

While this is important for people of all ages, it's especially important for children as creative experiences at an early age can help kids express themselves, and cope with their feelings. Creativity fuels the ability to problem-solve, innovate, and explore new and unfamiliar areas!

Here at Ann Williams, we are passionate about crafting for this very reason. We believe that through crafting, kids learn invaluable life skills. Crafting not only encourages kids to make their own choices and explore, which builds self-esteem, but helps them learn about their own uniqueness and individuality. 

We love these suggestions from Parents Magazine on ways to foster creativity in your children when doing arts & crafts:

Prepare for a mess. Set up an art space where your kid can be free to experiment - and get messy!

Avoid giving direction. Don't tell your kid what to make or how to make it, rather encourage them to explore.

Speak specifically about art. When talking to your child about their art project, try to be precise in your comments, saying things like "I see you used alot of purple yarn, why did you choose that color?"

Explore your child's process. Often the best way to encourage conversation about your child's art is simply to say, "Tell me about what you made," or ask, "Did you have fun making it?"

Let it be. When a child finishes a project, don't suggest additions or changes. It's important for a child to feel that what they created is enough.

Our Monthly Craft Box subscription is a perfect way to infuse creativity into your daily and weekly routines. What could more exciting than receiving a surprise in the mail every month? Monthly craft kits filled with new arts and crafts projects to try!

We offer crafts for children ages 6-8, children ages 9-12, teen crafts, and even crafts for adults! Get 30% off your first box when you sign up for a craft monthly subscription with code OMGSURPRISE. What are you waiting for? Let's get crafty!

January 12, 2017

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Rubber Band Game - Fun Family Game Night

New activities can encourage your family to connect with one another more often. The magic really happens when you interact with your kids and engage in new ways - instead of being attached to a screen! Oh, those were the days...

Well, with fun in mind, we created the Rubber Band Game as a way for families to connect with one another - perfect for Family Game Night! With over 20 ways to play, it will surely become a family favorite in no time. 

Stack 'em up!

It’s super easy and there are over 20 ways to play! Stack the numbered blocks, roll the dice, take aim, and try to knock down your numbered block to win.

Knock 'em down

Are you skilled at rubber bands? Will you double over laughing? It doesn’t matter—it’s knock-down fun for friends and family.

Fun for all ages

From beginner to advanced, for two to eight players, for a party or a rainy day, it’s a game everyone will want to play! Well, what are you waiting for? Get your own Rubber Band Game for the family here on our website because this is the stuff that memories are made of!

 

November 17, 2016

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Be Kind to Humankind Week

Kindness is something all of us could use a little more of, which is why we love “Be Kind To Humankind week.” It was created in August of 1988 by Lorraine Jara in Toms River, New Jersey. She created the celebration in light of an upsetting story she read in the paper, you can read more about it on her website. She says,

It is basically a week of reflection and kind thoughts of others to make this world a better place. Of course we suggest practicing kindness daily, but this is the week you can take it to the next level. 

 We love spreading kindness with thoughtful crafts and kind words, and we will be celebrating this August 25-31 along with people all over the world. Performing acts of kindness can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, and simply make you a happier human being, so kindness can be seen as it’s own gift!

 The week of kindness consists of seven days, each with it’s own unique theme which you can find here. There are suggestions on the site for ways to participate in each day’s theme, but here are some other suggestions for random acts of kindness that you can use every day:

            -Send someone a hand written note 

            -Put some coins in someone else’s parking meter

            -Walk your friend’s dog

            -Open the door for someone

            -Leave sticky notes with kind words like “you make a difference” or “you have a great smile” in random places

            -Compliment a stranger

            -Pick up litter

            -Help someone with yardwork

            -Make a gift for a friend for no special reason

            -Let someone go in front of you in line.

 

Need a little more help teaching your kids how important it is to be kind? We’re proud that our Craft-tastic Kindness Kit recently won ASTRA’s “Best Toys for Kids” Award for 2016. It includes 8 crafts that make it easy and fun for kids to spread kindness around.

How are you planning on spreading kindness this week and in the future?

 

August 25, 2016

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Handmade Holidays: Gifts to make & share

Handmade Holidays Gifts to make and share

Here at Ann Williams Group, we’re all about Handmade Holidays! We love giving and receiving hand made gifts, so we’ve linked up to some tutorials with lots of ideas to help you make your own heart-felt gifts. Think you don’t have enough time? Think again! Our kits make it easy to make a gift for everyone on your list. These gifts can be made by anyone from eight to adult, although kids younger than eight could use a little help from an adult.

Craft-tastic paper bowl kit and finger crochet kit

The Paper Bowl Kit has everything you need to make three different sized bowls. Fill them with a few small items, wrap them up, and you’re the star! Make a mini-manicure bowl with a bottle of nail polish, little nail file, and a mini lotion. Or how ‘bout a movie night bowl, with a gift card for Redbox, a bag of microwave popcorn, and a box of candy? The bowls are perfect for jewelry, too, so you could gift it with a bracelet or necklace. Or, just fill it with wrapped candy, a gift anyone would appreciate! The bowls are quick to make, but do require drying time. Watch our step-by-step video tutorial.

 

The Finger Crochet Kit comes with everything you’ll need to make a scarf, two headbands, and three bracelets—all from one little packet and all made by hand. Six presents in one box, and you’ll be done in no time at all!

Loopdedoo Bracelet maker and Craft-tastic String Art

If you have lots of friends, the Loopdedoo lets you make bracelets for all of them in minutes! Tie a bracelet onto a candy cane, Chapstick, or a bottle of nail polish for an extra special little gift.

 

Our String Art Kits are fun to make and share, too. Follow our designs to create a heart, “hi,” and peace sign, (or rocket, star, and planet), or personalize it and use your own design. Each kit comes with three canvases, so you have three chances to make a unique gift! These would also make a fun friend activity, for you and two friends. #bondingtime!

Loopdeloom weaving loom

The gift possibilities are endless with the Loopdeloom! Make something simple like a mug rug or pot holder, or get more detailed with our three tutorials:

Is your friend the one who is constantly using their phone or iPod? Make them a special case to keep it safe! You can personalize the case so it will be something they love. If you have more time, you can make a tablet or e-reader case using the same instructions! Check out our video tutorial on making a phone case.

You can make fingerless gloves to keep your friend’s hands toasty this winter. Why not personalize them with some embroidery for an extra special touch! Watch our video tutorial now.

If you really don’t have much time left, you can make a wrist cuff bracelet! Make it in your friends’ favorite colors, or use their team colors and make them something they can wear to the game! Here is our video tutorial on making wrist cuffs.

Craft-tastic pom pom kit and mini pom pom kit

To decorate your gifts, make a few pom poms with the Pom Pom Kit or Mini Pom Pom Kit and tie them on top. Voila! Handmade wrapping made cute and fun! The pom pom kits also make fun presents such as tassels for key chains or purses, necklaces, even scarves!  Search for “pom pom crafts” and you’ll see the options are endless.

 

 Happy Crafting!

December 21, 2015

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