“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso
Kids are born curious and creative – two qualities that go wonderfully together!
In such a scenario, it’s obvious that they’re naturally inclined towards arts and crafts, so half your work is done there!
However, a little nudge and support in the right direction can be of great help and encouragement to kids, which is why we’re talking about how to introduce kids to arts and crafts in a manner that’s appropriate for their age and ability.
Benefits of Introducing Arts and Crafts at an Early Age
Most child experts agree that introducing arts and crafts early in life has many benefits.
- Using their fingers to paint, tear or mould encourages fine motor skills, particularly in young children
- Sticking to a task for a period of time encourages concentration and focus
- They learn about decision-making, problem-solving and how our actions can affect the outcome
- Crafting increases cognitive ability and visual-spatial skills
- Using different materials for purposes other than what they were intended for encourages innovation
- Making crafts based on other cultures helps them to grow up as tolerant, loving adults
- Studies show that spending time on arts and crafts is directly proportional to improved academic performance
Introducing Crafts by Age
- Start with very basic supplies, like crayons and colored paper for toddlers. Get them jumbo crayons that fit into their little hands and help them tear colored paper for some fine motor practice.
- Handprint crafts are also great for toddlers and preschoolers, who can then progress onto using child-safe glue. Let them create rough paper collages, or you can experiment with different materials – cotton, fabric, stickers, sticks and leaves.
- School going kids can make crafts with more definition and may be interested in creating things that they can play with or give their friends, like bookmarks. At this age, they can use scissors and other tools. They’re also more in tune with changing seasons and popular holidays.
- Tweens and older kids will be able to appreciate the finer nuances of art and famous artists. They can also use materials like porcelain clay to sculpt. Kids this age might prefer making things that can be used, like jewelry, earphone pouches etc. This is also a good stage to get them involved in crafts of other world cultures.
Whatever your child’s age, it’s never too late to introduce them to arts and crafts – we think even Mom and Dad can benefit a lot from it!
How to Introduce Arts and Crafts to Kids
1. Start with a Favorite Story
To begin with, a favorite story or book is a good idea for a starting point. There are many crafts based on popular children’s books like
If your child has a favorite character, like Mickey Mouse or Peppa Pig, go for crafts based on them. If you can’t seem to find a craft based exactly on your child’s favorite book, improvise!
Go for generic crafts based on the characters in the book, like a cat, bird or fish.
2. Look at your Child’s Interests
Some kids, especially preschoolers, go through phases of intense obsession. It could be about trains, trucks or Dora – it’s usually something that your child breathes!
If this is the case in your home, you have the perfect setting to start doing crafts!
Show your train crazy champ illustrations of vintage trains, usually found in older books.
A scrapbook is a great idea for all ages, where they can cut out pictures of trains from magazines or newspapers and stick them in.
3. Use Experiences
For a child, novelty is everywhere. They delight in a visit to a farm, the first time it rains, or tasting a new dish. Make use of this excitement and let it translate into arts and crafts!
If your child prefers just letting his thoughts flow, leave him alone with paper and art materials. If he’d like to ‘do’ something more with his hands, go crafty.
4. Talk about Art
Art isn’t just a huge painting at a museum; it’s all around us!
Draw your child’s attention to a decorative poster and talk about the colors.
Encourage questions from your child and ask questions yourself – can you see these shapes? Why do you think she looks happy? Do you think the colors are happy colors or sad?
For older kids, museums are a good bet, but don’t force your child to go. By this age, you probably have an idea of what kind of exhibits she might like, so take her to a museum that caters to her interests – history, science, architecture or movies.
5. Introduce them to Artists
If you’ve taken your child to an art gallery or museum, it’s quite likely that you’ve tossed around the names of a few artists.
If your child seems to show a particular affinity for the style of work or colors of a particular artist, encourage this interest and help her learn more about them.
Use books and crafts based on the works of famous artists to talk about their lives and the role their art played in history.
Many of these artists’ works have a lot of depth and hidden details, so let your child study them closely and try to imagine what the artist was trying to portray through his painting or how he may have been feeling at the time.
These thoughts are likely to encourage them to experiment with the same style – the results are sure to be interesting!
6. Recycle and Reuse
We can’t think of a better way to encourage creativity than thinking of an innovative way to reuse something!
Hand your child an empty shoe box or Pringles can and ask him what he can make with it. Of course, the possibilities are endless and you might just be surprised at what your child comes up with!
Even if you’ve got all these tips on how to introduce your kids to arts and crafts, they work best when you get down and get involved too!
Once your kids have become experts of some kind, you can leave them alone, provided it’s safe. But when your kids are starting out in the world of arts and crafts, parental support is critical.
Use child safe materials and beware of choking hazards. Be prepared for lots of messes, and a project that might turn out completely different from what was initially planned!
But let your child free to create whatever she wants and just be there to support and encourage her. And who knows, this might just be what you need to rekindle your dormant creativity as well!
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