Making a hand-made birthday card, creating a set of Shrinkies key rings, colouring with crayons or tracing stencils, there are so many arts and craft activities that can fire a child’s imagination and tap into their artistic potential. By introducing your child to arts and crafts, you are laying down foundations for their future physical, social and cognitive development. Check out our five benefits of creative play for kids...
1. Holding onto a pencil or crayon, colouring inside the lines, cutting with scissors, peeling off stickers, tracing stencils and sticking tape—each of these tasks focuses on fine motor skills and coordination. They help to develop wrist movement, hand grip and the small muscles in hands and fingers. But they are so much fun children want to do them over and over again. As kids engage in arts and crafts activities over time, their fine motor skills continue to improve.
2. Young children begin by picking up a pen or crayon and scribbling randomly. The more they scribble, the more they are able to control the crayon and its movements across the paper. As children learn to control their scribbling, they make a wider variety of purposeful shapes, eventually making all the shapes needed to write the letters of the alphabet.
3. Arts and crafts are a great leveller, helping to create common ground for children who don’t know each other or find social interactions difficult. These activities can help people of all ages, races, abilities, and even languages engage in a shared (and enjoyable) activity.
4. Unlike digital devices, arts and crafts activities can engage all the senses—sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste—depending on the activity. Children’s brain fire away as they experiment and create, exploring textured surfaces, sticking and colouring with different tools and materials, drawing from imagination or what they see in front of them. All this brain firing ultimately creates new neural connections and strengthens learning.
5. Completing arts and crafts activities takes determination, focus and discipline. By working on small craft activities, children learn the satisfaction and pride of completing a project. At the same time understanding that not everything is instantly achieved by the press of a button. Crafts that require periods of waiting (for example Shrinkies in the oven) teach a child patience and self control.
A finished art piece to share with family and friends is very satisfying and personally rewarding. Kids learn to feel good about themselves and the project they have created.