Children's Craft: Parenting Workshop
Any parent of a young child could tell you how isolating parenting can be in our modern world. Specifically, when your world is unfamiliar or new, raising a young child is an intimidating feat. That’s why ARTogether decided to build a community group for parents of young children, particularly refugee or immigrant parents, through a fun, interactive art workshop. The workshop, held at the Jewish Family and Community Services center of the East Bay, brought together a diverse set of mothers from the Bay Area for a relaxing, bonding experience with their little ones.
When the parents arrived at JFSC, few knew what to expect from this “child-parent bonding art workshop.” Nevertheless, the room soon filled up with six moms and their children ready to make art. ARTogether, a local nonprofit that seeks to connect refugees and immigrants to the Bay Area arts community, organized the workshop and brought the materials for the project. The moms smiled with excitement when they realized the workshop would consist of making their very own homemade playdough.
The workshop started with a fun ice breaking activity during which the moms introduced themselves and their children, and then everyone gathered together for a singing activity. The singing seemed to break the children out of their shells -- the music got louder and the children became more comfortable in their new environment. The children moved shyly away from their mothers’ sides, and the moms immediately began talking amongst themselves. As they mixed the materials for their playdough, the women shared their stories and laughed while the children patiently waited to smush playdough between their fingers.
Yalda Mobasher, one of the event facilitators, explained how playdough is a great material for children’s creativity because of its soft texture and versatility. The sensory dough allows children use their hands to create anything they can imagine; there are no boundaries. Furthermore, the durability of playdough allows children to explore their interests because their art creations can constantly be transformed into something new. While the children experimented with the playdough, the moms reflected on how difficult it can be to keep young children entertained for long periods of time. Even though they all agreed that keeping children happy can be quite frustrating at times, the moms helped each other by sharing tips and fun activities they’ve tried to avoid reverting to screens.
When the workshop ended, the women thanked ARTogether and JSFC for the workshop. After expressing interest in attending another parent-child art workshop in the future, many of the mothers exchanged contact information in order to stay connected.