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Get Kids Crafting!

Crafting may seem like a great way to make a quick mess, but it is an important part of a child’s development. Not only does it allow creative expression, but arts and crafts come with loads of benefits.

We’ll start with the all-important fine motor skills. This is literally just small movements and can include using the right fingers to pick up and manipulate objects. Even holding a marker or picking up and gluing on pieces of paper, macaroni, or buttons helps work on those skills. In addition to fine motor skills, crafting helps with coordination. Arts and crafts often means working with two hands. One hand has to do one task, like holding the glue stick while the other picks up the object and puts it down.

Macaroni art is a great way to practice fine motor skills, and it is great for all ages. Whether it is simply picking up and gluing macaroni onto a plate, or stringing it along with a piece of string for a necklace, it uses those motor skills and coordination. For the younger kids, you can draw a simple picture, like a smiley face, to give them an outline to aim for while older kids can usually come up with their own design. You can also color the macaroni ahead of time by dividing them into Ziploc bags, adding a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol and then food coloring. Spread out on a sheet of wax paper and let them dry overnight before using.

This doesn’t have to be for just younger kids. Older ones can weave with yarn and construction paper, create bead art, or even have a go at origami.

This brings us next to sequencing. Crafting should be a creative time where kids are free to choose what objects or colors they use, but there will still be a way tasks should be performed. For example, the glue has to go on first before something can stick. If you’re building something up, then the base goes on first, then the rest.

Building a snowman is a great example of this (it doesn’t have to be winter to appreciate a good snowman picture!) You can use cotton balls and glue them on construction paper, or even use fun materials like marshmallows. The bottom goes on first, then the middle, then the top. Alternatively, kids can also create their own story with a beginning, middle, and end. Cut out pictures and glue them on a storyboard.

For younger children, arts and crafts are a good time to practice colors and patterns. It’s as simple as asking your child to find the yellow marker for coloring the sun or pick out the blue buttons. You can also use the opportunity to count materials. Essentially, it’s a great teaching time, and they’re learning without even knowing it!

Arts and crafts time also boosts children’s self-esteem. It is extremely important that even from a young age that children feel good about themselves. It is a good feeling to be encouraged to be creative and then having that creation have a positive response. This brings a sense of pride. A higher self-esteem brings courage to try new things later down the line too.

For children, arts and crafts can be a great social activity as well as done alone. Arts and crafts time can bring a lot of bonding between parents, siblings, and friends. It teaches sharing and patience. If working on one project together, it starts those team building skills and communication. For example, Use play doh to make a city with children creating different parts of the city to put together and play in. You could also get a large piece of roller paper to have the kids color a big scene on.

Finally, arts and crafts get creativity flowing! This is the perfect time to let imaginations run wild and let children express themselves through artwork. There is no need to worry about staying in the lines or making purple cats and green suns – this is THEIR artwork. When children are still learning the right words and healthy ways to express themselves, arts and crafts gives the time and tools to express feelings. This creative “flow” has shown to be a great tool against anxieties and stresses. This practice should be something that continues long into adult life as well to help with a healthy state of mind.

You don’t need to go out and buy a huge arts and crafts kit for the kids to rummage through in one day. Things around the house like macaroni, toilet paper tubes, and play-doh can be used to create some wonderful kid-masterpieces. This summer, take some time out of the day to get away from video games and television and do some arts and crafts.

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