Why Being “Crafty” is Important for Kids

Why Being “Crafty” is Important for Kids

We having been posting recently about the benefits of curiosity and creativity. Today we are going to explore the benefits of arts and crafts for children. This is a great way for children to express their creativity and explore new materials and ways to put them together. And here are some other benefits of being “crafty”:

  • Physical benefits. Drawing with pencils, crayons, and markers as well as cutting and pasting can help children develop and strengthen their fine motor skills. Since arts and crafts also often require children to use both hands (for example, holding a piece of paper in one hand while cutting with the other), these activities can strengthen children’s abilities to coordinate the activities of both their hands at once. (This may sound easy, but think about how hard it was to learn to tie your shoes.) And activities like drawing, using materials to make sculptures, and making designs help with children’s visual learning and spatial abilities.
  • Self-regulation skills. It takes patience to wait for paint and glue to dry. Or to slow down and carefully place a piece of paper in a mosaic design. So engaging in art activities can help children to develop some important self-regulation (Just remember that practicing self-regulation does not mean that the end product has to be perfect.)
  • Practice with decision-making and critical thinking. While they are completing art projects, children make a lot of decisions, like “Will the cow look better painted purple or blue?” or “Do I want to put glitter or feathers on my collage?” This is a good time for them to practice making decisions and thinking things through in a creative way. These skills can transfer to other decisions, like whether it’s a good idea to share with a friend or just take the ball. And being able to think about whether blue or purple might look better not only gives your child practice in critical thinking but it can also boost her confidence in her own decision-making skills.
  • Teaching and bonding time for parents (or teachers) and children. It can be a lot of fun to create things together. This gives parents and children time to talk about things, like whether they like blue or purple better. It can also be a good time to practice cooperation and problem-solving (like what to do when one person likes one color but the other person likes another— paint a half purple-half blue cow!). Materials need to be shared, too. Most importantly, though, as we talked about in our post on creativity, the experience of creating something can lead to feelings of well-being and happiness. What great feelings to share with your child!

 It can be really easy to find arts and crafts projects to do with children. Pinterest is a great resource and there are thousands of other ideas on the internet. Craft stores also often have kits with projects for children. These can be nice because the recommended ages of the children are written on the box. Just remember, no matter what project you pick, things do not need to turn out perfectly. All you have to do is to have fun!

Sources

5 Developmental Benefits of Arts and Crafts http://nspt4kids.com/parenting/5-developmental-benefits-of-arts-and-crafts/

The Importance of Art in Child Development http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/the-importance-of-art-in-child-development/

Image: © Olga Bogatyrenko | Dreamstime.com

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Katherine Pears
Dr. Katherine Pears is a senior scientist at Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC). She earned her Ph.D in clinical psychology and has worked with OSLC since 1998. Katherine is the principal investigator and co-developer of the Kids In Transition to Schools (KITS) program. Currently, she oversees all the clinical and research activities for KITS. When she’s not in her office, you’ll find Katherine in the kitchen whipping up her latest creation or outdoors hiking a scenic trail.

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