How Arts and Crafts Help Children Learn
Arts and crafts describes a variety of activities performed by hand. Both kids and adults enjoy art and craft and both kids and adults benefit from arts and crafts in different ways. But for children, arts and craft can play an enormous hand in development.Learn about the benefits of arts and crafts for kids and what children learn from art.
Improve fine motor skills
Fine motor skills use the smaller muscles of the hands, the ones needed for doing up buttons, constructing LEGO and holding things like pencils and scissors. They’re essential for performing everyday skills and activities like threading beads onto pipe cleaners works wonders for development.
Why not try creating some monsters out of coloured modelling clay? A good amount of squishing, squeezing and pushing is required, which is ideal for developing tiny hand muscles.
Improve gross motor skills
Gross motor skills require whole body movement which in turn develop core stabilising muscles for performing everyday functions. You might not automatically turn to art and craft when you think of developing gross motor skills, but activities such as drawing can do just that.
Why not try tin painting with a large piece of butcher’s paper? Your child will need to stand up to roll the tin across the sheet of paper, strengthening core muscles and having enormous fun at the same time. Use non-toxic water-based acrylic paint for no fuss and no stains.
Improve hand-eye coordination
Hand-eye coordination is the ability to process information in order to coordinate and control the movement required to accomplish certain tasks. It works in conjunction with fine motor skills and gross motor skills.
Why not get your kids to sew their own greeting cards? Sewing is a terrific activity for children with more advanced fine motor skills. It further develops hand-eye coordination and gives a personal touch to greeting cards.
Boost visual processing ability
Visual processing skills are what your child’s brain uses to make sense of the world around them. Without the development of visual processing skills your child’s learning can take longer, requiring more cognitive effort that slows down the learning process.
Why not try beading with your child, encouraging them to remember patterns and find the bead that fits their mental image? You might not realise it, but activities like beading can get kids ready for math, reading and writing.
Having focus means having the ability to obtain and sustain appropriate attention to a task. It allows your child to concentrate on the important details (e.g. “do this … then do that … then go and brush your teeth.”)
Activities to help your child develop their focus can be split into two types - productive activities and receptive activities. It’s great if you can offer a bit of both.
Increases working memory
Working memory refers to how we hold on to and work with information stored in short-term memory. Kids use their working memory to follow directions and to learn.
Skyrockets self esteem
Art and craft activities are a great way to help children develop their self esteem. Completing an art or craft project offers a great sense of achievement that will help your child get through the hard times. Research tells us that children with healthy self-esteem perform well academically and make healthy lifestyle choices.
Teaches them to express themselves
The skill of self-expression comes through process-oriented art - art and craft that’s based on exploration with no real ‘rules’. Early process-oriented art helps your child to make a mark on the world in a positive way, a way people appreciate. Your child can tap into their own experience and how they view the world and create something that makes them (and others) feel happy.
Why not set up an art and craft station for your child to call their own. Your child will thrive in the freedom of having everything at hand to create what they want when they want.
When children are given the freedom to express their imagination through art and craft they feel encouraged to experiment and get creative. This helps strengthen problem-solving skills too and forms the base for young scientists, inventors, artists and storytellers.
Why not give your child a smock and a set of paints and then let them loose on a canvas? Tell your child to paint something that’s really unique - something they’ve never drawn before.
3 Tips for parents
Art and craft is a learned activity. Everyone has the potential to be an artist. But parents must adequately nurture, support, motivate and encourage art and craft exploration. Art, just like any other skill, can be magic once it’s honed, but even along the way magic can happen. Never underestimate the importance of art and craft for development.
As well as finding development-specific activities such as those listed above, keep these three things in mind each and every day.
1. Kids thrive in an inspirational world
A child that lives in an interesting environment will never run out of inspiration. Play different kinds of music, take part in different activities, make friends with new people and rotate your art and craft supplies. Keep kids on their toes and always keep them inspired.
2. Compassion goes a long way
When kids struggle to get things right they get frustrated and discouraged from the activity. Once a child sees that it can be done, however, life gets a little easier. Be the tutor they sometimes need. During times of frustration, show compassion. They’re learning after all.
3. Variety is the spice of creativity
You don’t have to have a Pinterest-worthy craft station, but a range of different art and craft supplies will give your child a lot of excitement when it comes to getting creative. Leave colouring books and pencils around the house, put chalk beside the driveway or give them beads and string next time they sit down to watch their favourite show. Variety is the key to regular art and craft. And the more art and craft your child partakes in, the quicker their skills develop.
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