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Seven Benefits of Crafting for Kids

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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 at mama smiles

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!

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

18 thoughts on “Seven Benefits of Crafting for Kids”

  1. I love seeing the act of creating. Just seeing the intent look on their face as ideas unfold right before you, you can just see their brain spinning.

  2. I’m glad you posted this! I was going to post a similar one today…I just agree…100%! I see so many benefits with my older kids as well…and it helps to start them while they are young!

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    It’s great hearing all the different ways your kids benefit from crafts and having such crafty parents! Your dissertation sounds interesting, and I think it’s terrific that the dolphin and spider are friends. :)

  4. I agree completely with all of your reason and also the genetic factor I craft and always have, my parents are both artistic and although teachers have subject specialities in creative areas, my grandparents used to paint, draw and craft and I was surrounded by it as a child where ever we went.

    We love crafting as it’s our time. I’m able to do things whilst J crafts now if I’m sitting with him so he maybe painting and I can be knitting or sewing.

  5. I am always amazed seeing what cool crafts your kids make on their own. I am excited that Anna gets more creative with materials lately – hopefully she will eventually discover the joy of creating things.

    1. They surprise me, too! I think they have a lot more free time than Anna though, since I’m home all the time and no-one goes to school for more than 2.5 hours a day.

  6. It is so important for kids to have access to basic crafting materials so that they can partake when the mood strikes them. As you mentioned it teaches so many important skills, and completely agree with Katey (Having fun at home) above that craft kits are a creativity stiffler, however, if you take away the instructions and the box so that kids produce their own work of art in their own way then they are a great way to access materials reasonably inexpensively and it can be quite fun.

    I have a free download on my site called “Creating a Super Dooper Genius Imaginator – the Why” which talks about the benefits of creativity and why children should be encouraged. It is free so worth popping over and checking out http://www.artfulgenius.com/shopping

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