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Taylorsville Journal

Junk turned treasure: what one family did to beat the COVID-19 boredom

May 11, 2020 01:53PM ● By Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Preschoolers “art project” (Photo courtesy Becky Watkins)

By Kathryn Elizabeth Jones | [email protected]

When Connie Hall was working with her daughter, Annette, to clean out the coat closet, all of this “crappy stuff” was seen inside.

At least that’s what Hall called it. The coat closet was the space she avoided at all costs. Besides, Annette and her other kids had had their stuff in there since the time they’d moved in with her.

“You couldn’t go in there without stepping on stuff,” Connie said. 

But with COVID-19 rearing its ugly head, Annette, who had tackled other projects before this one in the house, said it was time. 

“Do you know of someone during this tough time that might appreciate it?” she asked.

Connie thought of a family right away. They lived nearby, and the parents had eight children, six of whom lived at home. The children’s ages ranged from 5 to 17. Surely, if any family needed something for their children to do it was Becky and Weston Watkins.

“I took over the popsicle sticks and other craft supplies, hung the bag on the door, rang the doorbell and walked to the front lawn,” Connie said. “This stuff had been in that closet for years and hadn’t even been touched. Now I hoped it would be.”

“When I opened the door, Connie was standing in the lawn area,” Becky said. 

“I’ve got all these craft supplies, and I thought your kids would love it,” Connie told her.

“The kids dug through it,” Becky said. Included in the big bag were sheets of thin foam, various shapes already cut out and doorknob hangers. “There was even a snowman kit, with accompanying hat, nose, scarf and mittens that needed to be glued on. The kids loved it. Here it was the beginning of April, and we were building snowmen at our kitchen table.”

The kids were thrilled. Even her husband, Weston, a machinist, who is currently building parts for COVID-19 pandemic test machines, got involved.

“He was super excited,” Becky said. “Crafts aren’t something he normally gets to be a part of.” 

Becky’s preschooler called her craft activity an “art project” and glued all of the smaller items onto one side of the thin sheet. Her oldest daughter made a little stand out of popsicle sticks, for, you guessed it, her cell phone.

“Letting the kids have free rein of their creativity using raw materials was great. There were no boundaries and it was fun for them,” Becky said. Her three oldest daughters have also had fun baking and cooking fancy dinners. They’ve even learned how to make eclairs. Mom and Dad have been reading books to the younger children at night. 

But they will always remember the bag left on their front doorknob.

“I was excited to see the pictures, especially Dad helping the son with his project,” Connie said. She believes one of the children even made a doormat for their bedroom out of the supplies she hung on the door.

“It was junk, and now they’ve made things with them,” she said.


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