Benefits of craft for kids

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, music, art, social studies, science, maths, 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.

Start simple

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.

Reinforcing Language

Think of reinforcing language as a ladder for children to climb up. Your words form the rungs they stand on as they reach for the next higher level of learning.

I’ve just read a very interesting article on responsiveclassroom.org about Reinforcing Language, which is a positive teacher language, and I’d like to share it with you.

Reinforcing language is one of several types of positive teacher talk used by Responsive Classroom practitioners. Teachers use reinforcing language to show that they see students’ positive academic and behavioral efforts and accomplishments. Their words are specific and descriptive; their tone is upbeat and encouraging.

In the article, linked below, you will find a lot of more information and tips for using Reinforcing Language.
Here are seven key characteristics of effective reinforcing language, along with an illustration of how each might look in practice. Because we all have typical speech patterns that reflect, among other things, our personalities, the suggested words might not sound like ones you would normally use. With practice, though, you’ll find that you can incorporate all of these key characteristics of reinforcing language without losing your personal style.

1. Instead of giving global priase (“Great job!”), name concrete, specific behaviors so students know exactly what they’re doing that’s helping them learn.

Instead of… Try…
What a great piece of writing! You used lots of describing words.
That will really help readers “see” your story!

2. Speak in a tone that’s warm and encouraging, but professional.

Instead of…
Try…
Ooh, Liam, you did such a nice, nice job with your writing today!
I noticed that you worked really hard on your writing today, Liam, and your audience responded with enthusiasm when you read it aloud.

3. Grant children dignity by addressing them respectfully.

Instead of… Try…
Ok, [my little ducks, sweeties…] Ok, [students, learners, writers, mathematicians…]

4. Emphasize students’ actions and accomplishments over our personal approval.

Instead of… Try…
I really like all the adjectives you used in your writing! I see that you used lots of adjectives in your writing.

5. Add a question to extend student thinking.

Instead of… Try…
I see that you used lots of adjectives
in your writing.
I see that you used lots of adjectives in your writing. Why did you decide to do that?

6. Find positives to name in all students – including those who are struggling.

Instead of… Try…
You need to work harder at your writing, Mia. You just don’t stick with it long enough. You worked longer at your writing today, Mia. What helped you to do that?

7. Avoid naming individual students as examples for others.

Instead of… Try…
Marley, Max, Juan, and JD have
already put away their writing
supplies and taken their seats in the circle!
I see more and more people putting away their writing supplies and taking their seats in the circle.

https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/article/hows-your-reinforcing-language