Hello! Welcome to a “special” post on the topic of “Kids Get Crafty”… it is to celebrate a very special lady over at Teach Preschool – Deborah Steward – not only has she got a fabulous resource site for preschoolers, but she has also just reached 20,000 (!) Facebook followers. To celebrate with Deborah a number of blogs are coming together an sharing special alphabet posts!
I have K. K for Kids. And K for Kids Get Crafty!
So. Kids Get Crafty.
As you know, I am hugely passionate about crafts. And even more passionate about crafts with kids. I am no expert. I am not a teacher. I am not a professional. I am just a crafty so and so and I am just sharing my general observations with you!
Why Get Kids Crafty?
The simplest of all reasons – why I like to get others to have a go: because it is fun and because children love it. It will form part of their childhood and their childhood memories. Most children will enjoy some sort form of crafting (if not all) – be it painting, sticking, messy play, making robots or using nature to craft. You have some “plain” things and then suddenly you have a robot or acorn elf, you have a plain sheet of paper and then you have wonderful colours and patterns. Crafting forms part of my early childhood memories. They are all happy memories of wonder and achievement and fun. I want the same for my children.
Quality Time & Bonding
I have created a craft monster at home – when I ask what he feels like doing Red Ted will always say “crafting” .. To be honest, I think he asks because he both enjoys crafting, but also knowing that crafting means mummy time. Crafting is our “playtime”. It is quite clear that Daddy is for Lego and mummy for crafts. It is time for us to do things together. And then once we have finished making something we usually get to play with it – e.g. Daddy and Red Ted playing with our Story Cubes at bedtime.
Learning, Development, Confidence Building
Although I am not a professional, I think we all know that crafting can help on many developmental levels. Both my children are extreme good at “pen holding” – especially compared to their peer groups. They love exploring what patterns their hands make with paint. Looking at how colours mix (and how you make orange, pink or green). What effects you get from a roller and what from an apple print. How much glue you need and about balancing things (our robot tends to topple). How can you make things stick and stay? They are exploring and learning about the world in a certain way. Neurons are connecting and the brain is developing.
You are also helping fine motor skills and concentration – pen/ brush holding, sticking on a small googly eye, learning to sew – all fine motor skills and concentration. Even if your child can only concentrate for 5min, that is still 5min worth of concentration!
Whilst doing that they are also building confidence. They get a lot of praise from The Englishman, the grandparents and from me when they are making things. We praise their choice of colours and their choice of shapes. Their artwork is displayed, kept or posted to friends and family (or VERY discretely thrown away). We praise the final picture and how they tidy up. They are building their confidence and know that having a go is what it is all about. I know so many adults who say “I can’t [draw]” and I believe that that is because they were never truly encourage to as a child and that their confidence in their own abilities where knocked.
Your way of doing things is just fine. There is no “right or wrong way”. Kids will love whatever you make with them.
How to get Kids Crafty?
(Always) Lead by Example
Have a go – children learn from what you do. If they see you cooking, driving, cleaning, writing, using a computer, reading. They want to have a go too. So the first thing is to have a go yourself. Show you children how you are writing a shopping or a to do list. Or just sit down and make your own “loo roll bird“. The children will soon come and ask what you are doing… Though don’t do this whilst something “better” is on offer (e.g. TV or Daddy wrestling with them). Red Ted has seen me sew many times before we got around to him having a go. I am sure, if I had just said “let’s sew”, he would have not been interested – he wouldn’t have know what sewing is to start with.. when he finally did sew with me, he was so excited as he knew it was something special and that he was finally “big enough” to have a go.
Never ever say can’t – if a child hears you say “can’t” they will also think “can’t” – how can they possible do something that the amazing adult can’t do either? Also, a bear or a bunny or stick person that you do draw, will look great to any 3 year or 5 year old… don’t teach them “can’t” and don’t teach them not to have a go by not having a go yourself.
If they do draw or craft always praise and find something special about what they have made. Maybe they draw very straight lines or perfect circles. Maybe they used a lovely shade of red maybe they colour in really well. A positive experience will make them want to have another go!
Have realistic goals e.g. if life, play dates, school etc is hectic, craft just once a month – not every day.. and adapt to your children. Do 5 – 10min crafts rather than hours worth of crafting. Our cards are often quick crafts. As are our Loo Roll Watches. If you need help with “once a month crafts”, I have two ebooks that focus on each month Time On Your Hands and Get Crafty With Nature.
Vary Your Crafts
You child doesn’t like drawing? Fine. Try sticking a picture. Doesn’t like sticking? Fine. Try making something out of boxes. Make it big or small. A robot or a house. Doesn’t like making houses or robots? Fine. Try salt dough or playdough! Try sewing or knitting. Try beading. Try Nature Crafts.
Find a theme they like – be it pirates, or ships, or football or princess and then make something along that theme. My monthly Get Crafty carnivals are always themed and contain 30-40 ideas on a specific theme, so check them out too!
There are SO many different crafts for children, that really, you just need to find something that works for you and your family. It doesn’t have to be messy to be crafty!
Let Them Go
Once your child is interested in crafts, let them go… let them explore and experiment and try their own things. Let their imagination take them to new places. You never know, you may learn something too! But if they get a bit stuck for ideas, then guide them again and make suggestions that help them along the way.
Our favourite Kids Get Crafty Projects:
I think I highlighted a number of our favourite projects in the text and images above… but here we have the links again!
Art at the Gallery – Boys, Penguins & Houses – Coloured salt dough Dinos & Beads – Sewing our Nature Bag – Robots – Stick Men – Loo Roll Watches – Keepsake Paintings – Rainbow Cookies – Loo Roll Pirates
Check out the rest of the alphabet (live later this week) through this button: