Often, arts and crafts are seen as fun activities with no real developmental benefits. As an activity, arts and crafts is enjoyed by many children because kids are naturally creative and love to get a bit messy and feel a sense of achievement when they make something you inevitably tell them is beautiful (how could you not?).
However, despite arts and crafts being sidelined for more academic activities which tend to be taken more seriously, it is important to recognise that certain craft activities are actually great for a child’s development and can help them when it comes to other learning areas like music and art, and even science, maths and languages.
Crafts can also help a child develop their motor skills, learn how to express themselves and help them understand colour and numbers. Certain craft activities even help a child gain a basic awareness of certain processes like glue or paint drying, or how pencils are made. Craft done with objects from the wastebin can also help a child gain a broader awareness of the planet, and how important it is to recycle.
Crafts are also hugely beneficial to children in the fact they enable them to be expressive and be proud of something they have created themselves, thus building their confidence.
Crafts have been around since time began, when everything was handmade. Usually crafts were made for practical uses, for selling, swapping or for spiritual or cultural expression.
Crafts are still an important part of many cultures and they are now very much an enjoyable pastime for adults and children alike, and are particularly popular on a rainy afternoon when indoor fun needs to be had.
Children Under 5
When children under 5 take part in crafts at this age it will help them bond with you and help you help them learn a very basic foundation for the subjects they will be learning when they attend school.
Just some of the benefits of crafts for under 5’s include:
- Encouraging them to learn in lots of different ways (seeing, hearing, feeling)
- Encouraging them to feel positive about learning
- Helping them build self-esteem and confidence
- Encouraging their expressiveness and creativity
- Encouraging them to think about their activities more
Children Over 5
When children over 5 take part in crafts, they have vivid imaginations, which means they are able to use crafts as a way to entertain themselves. This is vital in promoting self-play, independence and promoting confidence in making their own decisions and choices.
Crafts & Other Subjects
Certain subjects naturally work well with crafts, complementing the activity as a vital learning tool. Music works well with crafts as it enhances their imaginative processes. Creating musical instruments with kids is a great activity, as it encouraging your child to learn to play an instrument, which just like crafts, encourages multiple learning styles.
Creative writing is another great hobby that works well with crafts. Children write their own stories using their imagination, which builds their literacy skills. Pairing this with drawings of the characters they have created, and even using art and craft supplies to help them create their very own book is a really great activity. If your child is more of a performer than a writer, storytelling is a great activity to pair with crafts. Get your child to create handmade props, instruments and even costumes to help them tell a story. This encourages children to express themselves, be more confident and help them make sense of the world around them.
Things To Steer Away From When It Comes To Kids And Crafts
It is important to approach crafts in the right way to not only ensure your child is enjoying it as much as possible, but to ensure the activity is as beneficial as possible.
Avoid the following when it comes to doing craft with your children:
- Never make children do crafts. If your child really doesn’t want to do a certain craft project, do not force them, this will only make them not want to do crafts again in future.
- Only ever offer guidance when it comes to doing crafts with your child. Help them think of their own ideas and encourage them to be confident enough to explore their own ideas. Try not to be overbearing and too involved with their activity. It helps if you are doing your own picture or sculpture while they do theirs.
- Always start simple in the beginning allowing the child to get used to all the different materials and processes involved in crafts.
- Always make sure your child is able to complete the craft project. You need to correctly assess the stage of learning your child is at to make sure you’re not encouraging them to do projects too advanced for them. It’s always good to try, but if your child does too many activities he’s not ready to do, he will lose confidence.