I lead a playgroup for kids 0–5 and their caregivers— it’s a model called Kaleidoscope Play & Learn — and for part of my training, they had half of us get a whole bunch of random craft stuff and instructions to “make something,” while the other half of the people got a prototype and specific instructions to make the paper turtle or whatever.
Then we showed off what we made and talked about it.
Of course, everybody’s over in the other group looked about the same, and they all agreed the only thing they really got to practice was following directions (and if little kids had the same task, grownups would’ve ended up doing most of it for them).
Our group made all kinds of things (I managed to “sew” a bag; someone made a rubber band guitar; someone made pretend binoculars out of toilet paper tubes). We had so much fun, and we got to be creative.
The point was we should always allow for open-ended options at our craft table.
My kid’s in kindergarten now, and I’m glad she got an early start in creative expression, but I too worry about exactly what you’re thinking in this piece.