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February 26, 2014

Basic Arts and Crafts for Children

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The Growing Skill of Drawing

Drawing moves from simple scribbles and jumbles to more detailed art that can be used within many fun projects.  Remember that young children still have a limited attention span.  There are lots of preparation involved starting up any arts and crafts activity, so it’s sensible to work through two or three mini projects in any single session.  This maintains and sparks their enthusiasm.  If you are planning a drawing session, you could begin by drawing simple shapes and images and challenging your students to copy.  This could progress to an effective introduction to coloring in.

Fill a sheet of blank paper with random squiggles and shapes, and then encourage the child to fill in the pattern with blocks of color.  This arts and crafts idea is an effective way to promote pen control and color design.  The session could end with a game using hands and feet as simple stencils.  Once there is an outline on paper, promote the child’s creativity by using the shapes as a base to create animals or faces.  Suddenly, toes and fingers become horns, manes, or tentacles!

Painting Ideas

Another perfect arts and crafts activity for the younger child is painting.  It is again advisable to have several activities planned.  Simple techniques like blow painting are a great idea.  All you require is thin paint and a straw.  The child spreads the paint by blowing and experimenting with different effects.  Once interest has waned you can resort to exploring other paint techniques using simple items like string or a cotton reel.

Another paint craft idea is the butterfly print.  This never fails to delight the preschool child.  Fold back half of a piece of paper, let the child paint the visible half with lots of appealing colors, then firmly close the paper in on itself using the central fold.  Watch the smiles when the child opens up the paper card to find a glorious butterfly splashed across the page.  If the paint has spread, the child can help you to recreate the butterfly shape using child-sized scissors.

Starting to Cut and Stick

It is important to introduce the child to a range of different arts and crafts.  The easiest and most satisfying craft idea is cutting and sticking.  At this stage, just use old magazines, a sheet of paper and a non-toxic glue stick.  Learning to control scissors, the preschool child loves to choose appealing and exciting pictures and photos to cut and stick into a personal collage.

Simple Building and Modeling

At this age kids can explore simple arts and crafts by building and modeling.  Again, keep it simple and use this craft idea to explore the possibilities offered by simple household items.  Could a plastic milk carton become a car or plane by the simple addition of cardboard wings or wheels?  What about the toilet roll that’s just itching to become a space rocket?  Arts and crafts are the ideal way to reach the child to look at the world with fresh and imaginative eyes.

The world is an exciting place for the growing child which makes their attention very limited at best.  Remember; line up several craft ideas for any arts and crafts sessions.  Above all, continue to keep it simple, don’t bombard the child with lots of sophisticated crafts ideas.  Look at the basic skills and use them to generate ideas in the child’s mind.  The idea at this stage is to confirm that the world is place full of exciting ideas and possibilities.

Skills Typically Developed Through Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts activities can provide each child with wonderful opportunities to create unique forms and pictures as well as explore materials and experiment with the use of various “tools.”  Remember, the experience or process is more important than the product.

Here is a listing of the type of skills that can be developed through arts and crafts:

  1. Creative expression
  2. Experimentation
  3. Fine-motor development
  4. Building self-esteem
  5. Using drawing, writing, cutting tools
  6. Learning properties of substances
  7. Following directions
  8. Manipulation of various materials and tools
  9. Pre-literacy skills
  10. Finding new ways to use materials

Communication and Interaction Tips, Activities, and Ideas

  • Materials – Talk about the various materials and how they are used.  For example: “Scissors are sharp for cutting,” “Glue is sticky to keep things together.”
  • Word Lists – Describe how materials feel or what can be done with the materials.  For example: when painting at an easel, show them how to mix the colors red and blue together to change the paint to purple.
  • Label Works of Art – Write the date and child’s name in the upper left hand corner of the paper.  Say the name and letters as you write them.
  • In the Child’s Words – Write down what the child tells you about his or her picture.  It’s best to write the exact words the child uses to describe the picture.
  • Showcase Artworks – Children’s crafts map a child’s development and skills.  This journey through preschool deserves to be proudly exhibited in colorful displays.  Dry or display artworks by using a drying rack or stringing a clothesline across a wall and using clothes pins to attach the artwork.  Artwork should be displayed throughout the school.

Cross Curriculum Lessons, Activities and Resources

Finding ways to incorporate arts and crafts into the everyday classroom is essential.  It’s been proven that early exposure to visual art, music, or drama promotes activity in the brain. What better way to create excitement in the math, science or history classroom?  Arts and crafts activities help children understand other subjects much more clearly… from math and science, to reading and language arts, and to music and movement.

So go ahead, start incorporating arts and crafts into your everyday teaching. Your students will thank you!


*This article was prepared especially for Saint Matthew’s Publishing Corporation.

The Wonders of Arts and Crafts

Filed under: Author's Aid,Teacher's Corner — Tags: — stmp-admin @ 5:24 am

The Psychology of Arts and Crafts for Children

Arts and crafts activities for children are important elements of preschool education.  It’s vital to remember that preschool isn’t just fun and socialization, or just a way of passing the time but a crucial part of a child’s educational development.  There are so many positive benefits for children if they are encouraged to enjoy the wide range of arts and crafts activities available.

A Creative Problem

Creativity is a challenging process that takes the child on a journey through a whole spectrum of skills.  Arts and crafts activities are a series of problem-solving activities.  Kids are presented with a goal, perhaps a painting or a model.  Using a method and a set of skills, they either recreate this item or design an entirely new piece of artwork.  There is no ‘right’ answer with arts and crafts. Children must find ways to interpret and identify the best way forward from a whole set of ideas.  As they proceed, they are constantly discovering the laws of cause and effect.  The young artist will often have to think laterally and may have their perseverance tested.  In other words, every art and craft project is one big problem to be solved so that it results in a real sense of achievement.

 Quiet Time

Arts and crafts activities may be particularly valuable for more children.  The activities demand patience, and results are only achieved with effort and time.  It means that arts and crafts activities provide a valuable opportunity for concentration and quiet time.

Play as Therapy

Sigmund Freud, a famous psychotherapist, once claimed that play was a direct pathway into a child’s unconscious mind.  Even if you don’t subscribe to this view, it’s easy to spot how it can relate directly to hidden feelings and emotions.  It’s an effective insight into a child’s personality and thought patterns.  The power of arts and crafts activities are demonstrated superbly when it’s used to assist traumatized children as they attempt to come to terms with negative experiences.  There is a whole profession built on the principles of play therapy.  Safe and unrestricted play is used to explore issues that may trouble children and could otherwise be difficult to uncover.

Time Together

Arts and crafts activities often use substances and materials that are harmful to children.  This means it’s usually a shared experience between the teacher and the child.  This shared activity can be a really positive experience. It encourages social skills, speech, language development, and listening skills.  It may be the first time a child starts to develop his ability to work in a team.  It’s also a good chance to learn to negotiate or compromise.  Close co-operation and adult attention makes the child feel valued and boosts his self-esteem and confidence.  Even if the teacher is not present throughout the entire creative process, there will always be a finished product to be admired.

The preschool child learns and absorbs information at an astonishing pace.  You can channel this activity by coming up with fun projects and craft ideas together.  Initially, a teacher’s role is purely supervisory, but arts and crafts for the growing children allow them to learn and explore techniques and ideas more independently.

Download our sample activities here: The Wonders of Arts & Crafts


*This article was prepared especially for Saint Matthew’s Publishing Corporation.

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