Arts & Crafts - The Marmite of Parenting!
Like with marmite, arts and crafts are often something you either love or hate, but if you are an arts & crafts hater, then here are a few reasons why you should cross over to the "sticky" side....
It has been shown time and again in scientific studies that simple arts and crafts activities really are the building blocks for children's development. They particularly help children in the following areas*:
- Fine Motor Skills: Using scissors to cut, spreading glue, sticking, folding... these all involve fine motor skills!
- Language Development: talking about colours, shapes, textures, instructions... all very useful vocab!
- Decision Making: having to make simple choices and decisions is good practice for decision-making and criticial thinking in later life.
- Visual learning: sculpting (in playdoh, clay or any other material) helps to develop visio-spatial skills.
- Inventiveness: The world needs creative thinkers, inventors in all walks of life and that creativity starts almost from the very beginning of a child's life!
"Time and again, I see a child's engagement transformed through an arts or creative approach. It enables them to unlock their potential because the spotlight is taken off what they think they can’t do and shined on what they absolutely can do – using their imagination. All of a sudden, what they can’t do doesn’t seem so difficult anymore. Everyone should have access to that powerful opportunity of discovering what is possible for themselves!"
Ruth Churchill Dower, Director of EarlyArts, Author & Consultant specialising in the use of Creativity & Art in Early Childhood
The internet is full of ideas about arts and crafts projects that parents can do at home with their children. However, if you are not really an arts and crafts person, then there are an increasing number of arts and crafts activities available for children to join, including of course KidooLand's International Playgroup!
KidooLand's Playgroup Programme always includes a healthy dose of arts and crafts activities because of all the excellent reasons mentionned above, but also because the children do so love doing them! Here are a few examples along with the "professional" breakdown explaining what our children were learning as they carried out these fun arts and crafts projects.
L is for leaf
Independance and life skills (putting on own shoes, coat & gloves before going outside and then taking them off again and hanging them up upon their return indoors / helping to clear up & wash their hands at the end of the activity) - listening skills (following instructions, including extra safety instructions when outside) - fine motor skills (picking up individual leaves and placing them in a basket) - language development (discussion of the vocabulary "leaf" and associated words (nature, seasons) why is no longer green? why did it fall off the tree? when will the tree grow more leaves?) - fine motor skills and concentration (sitting still, crushing the leaves, spreading glue on the paper (only inside the leaf shape) and sticking the leaf bits on the glue)
All of the above does not of course take into account the child's enjoyment of getting outside into the fresh air, collecting some leaves, stomping on others, the exercise they enjoyed whilst walking around outside and then finishing the collage indoors.
An Autumn Tree
Independance and life skills (putting on & taking off the painting apron / helping to clear up and wash hands at the end of the activity) - listening skills (following instructions) - fine motor skills (using a paint brush) - language development (ongoing discussion using autumn vocabulary) - fine motor skills and concentration (painting on the paper) - decision making (chosing colours, deciding how to go about creating the autumnal scene on paper) - creativity/innovation (exploring how to use the paint brush and paints to create an autumnal tree and fallen leaves scene - do I splodge the paint brush onto the paper, do I use short brush strokes??)
Once again, all of the above does not take into account the child's pure enjoyment of getting messy, using their hand and arm to form the basic tree and then being able to chose how and where they add leaves of whichever colour inspires them). The satisfaction and pride that is felt by the child upon completion of a piece of artwork should never be underestimated either! These feelings help the child to grow in confidence and building up self esteem is, as we all know, critical to children's overall mental and physical well being.
* The Importance of Art in Child Development by Grace Hwang Lynch