All three of my kids adore using craft materials for self-expression. To some extent, I think it’s genetic – both Mike and I enjoyed making things as kids, and still do as adults. And I consciously encourage their innate desire to make things by keeping craft supplies readily available. Besides being an easy (if somewhat messy) way to keep my kids happily busy, I think crafting has some fantastic benefits for kids.
Here are a few things I think kids can learn through making things:
- They learn to take an idea and execute it – by planning materials, building steps, and problem solving unforeseen complications. These are all skills that should help with math and science once they start school.
- Crafting can be a non-verbal route to self-expression. Only one of my three kids is really a “talker”, and I’ve noticed that making seems more important to the other two.
- Crafting is a way to share ideas and stories – including images – with others. Six-year-old Emma designed and made these two hand puppets all on her own thanks to pair of my socks, some pipe cleaners, and lots of tape. The one on her left hand is a spider, which is fairly obvious. You would probably need to hear her narrative to know that the one on her right hand is the spider’s friend dolphin. :)
- Crafting allows kids to use their imagination and to narrate – both skills that help with reading and writing.
- Crafting can help kids overcome fears. I’ve noticed that four-year-old Johnny especially tends to draw things that frighten him – and that his fears seem to subside once he conquers the fear through art. And this theory is backed up in research – one of the things I looked at while I was working on my Ph.D. dissertation was the use of art to help kids overcome PTSD.
- Crafting is a safe way to express opinions, concerns, and anger. Last week Emma and Johnny disagreed over whether or not a fictional character was “good”. After some arguing, they each made signs stating their opinions, put them up on the wall, and went on their way. The topic has come up since, and they still disagree, but are able to state their disagreement calmly. Emma has also made signs about bullying and other social issues that have come up in school.
- Crafting builds spatial awareness, and can improve fine motor skills.
What benefits do you see in crafting for kids?
Learning Laboratory is a space to share fun, creative learning ideas for kids! Sharing my button or a text link back is always appreciated! From last week, I loved this nocturnal animals watercolor project from Having Fun at Home. I also liked all the ways an egg carton was used to teach math in this post at The Golden Gleam. And I think this tic tac toe chore chart from School Time Snippets is a fantastic way to get kids more motivated to do chores!