As a learning activity, arts and crafts have traditionally been passed over in favour of more academic pursuits
. But craft – particularly developmentally appropriate craft activities – can aid learning in other areas like language
, social studies, science
, health, and nutrition.
Crafts have been around since the beginning of time when people made everything they used with their hands. Crafts were initially created for trading, selling, spiritual or artistic expression, as well as creating personal and household articles.
Today, crafts are a great pastime and educational tool for kids. It can not only keep the kids entertained on a rainy day, but also extend a child’s fine motor skills, develop concepts like colour or numbers and see scientific processes like gluing and paint drying in action.
Craft allows kids to explore ideas or concepts and then express it by making something to keep, entertain others with or simply look at for visual pleasure.
Craft for the under-5s
At this age, craft is more about passing the time when it’s too rainy to go to the park, but it’s a great way to engage your pre-schooler, toddler or baby in ideas that provide foundation for future learning.
Benefits can include:
- Extending their thinking across multiple patterns of intelligence
- Develop higher thinking skills
- Enhance multicultural understandings
- Build self esteem
- Gain positive emotional responses to learning
- Engage through a variety of learning styles
Craft for older kids
Art and craft ideas encourage children to use their imagination to create their own entertainment. Making something on their own endows them with a confidence in their abilities to make individual decisions and choices.
Activities to complement craft as a learning tool
Music – learning to play an instrument can be a great hobby to introduce to kids.
Creative writing – writing stories as a hobby is a great way for children to enhance their literacy skills and use their imagination. They can turn their stories into drawings and make their own books.
Storytelling – the oldest art form in the world is to tell stories orally, and it lies at the heart of the way we think and make sense of our world. Stories could include real and fiction events.
Debating – this will give your child the ability to present an argument persuasively, to understand that there are two sides to most arguments and the confidence to speak in front of a room full of people, to name but a few skills.
Things to avoid when doing craft with your kids
Never force kids to complete a project they simply aren’t interested in – all you will do is alienate them from ever trying craft again. Simply encourage them and reward them when they do finish something. Here are some of the pitfalls of craft:
Don’t get too complex
It’s easy to overestimate your own ability (and your child’s) when you see something you like in a picture, but there’s nothing more discouraging than getting part-way through a project and finding you don’t have to skills to complete it. Determine how much you and your child can actually do.
If you’re learning a craft for the first time, start with something extra-simple to get the feel of the tools, materials, and techniques. Practice the techniques on something that doesn’t count first before actually beginning a project. If the project is relatively easy, your child will gain confidence and quickly want to try something more challenging.
Allow enough time and space
You need time to do things right, and that’s true of any activity, no matter how seemingly uncomplicated it is. Give yourself and your child time — to think, to enjoy what you’re doing, to be creative, to experiment, and to enjoy each other.
Children love to do crafts
So if they can be taught something using crafts it is likely they will learn it easily and without complaining. Crafts can be used as a tool to teach subjects like alphabets, numbers and colours to students of any age. Younger children can be taught basic lessons like colours and numbers. Crafts can be used to expand textbook lessons of older students by helping them to figure out how to express ideas and concepts visually.