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Arts and Crafts Can Benefit Your Child’s Development: Here’s How

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Kids love creating things, but with so many things competing for their—and our—attention and time, arts and crafts often fall by the wayside both at school and at home. Adults who strive to raise well-rounded children shouldn’t let that happen, though. There are solid, research-backed reasons to carve out some craft time with your child.

4 ways arts and crafts can benefit your child

Spending time with scissors and glue can be fun and therapeutic. But there are many other advantages, as well: social and emotional behavior, sense of self and academic success, to name a few. Let’s look at four ways that arts and crafts benefit your child’s development.

School readiness

Research has shown that preschoolers from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds show a huge improvement in school readiness after attending an art enrichment program. They also benefit from a higher level of language development. Children who enter school with well developed language skills are in a better position to succeed academically. There’s research behind this, too: Studies have shown that language skills are the best predictor of whether a child will do well in school.

 

Development of life skills

When children are deeply engaged in making a sketch, drawing a greeting card, or assembling a home economics project, they learn the art of communicating their ideas visually. They learn alternative ways of sharing their deepest joys, fears and other emotions without language cues. Similar to how imaginary play helps kids play out a role and explore ways of being, we can represent ourselves and our ideas visually through art.

Arts and crafts also help kids develop a sense of accomplishment. By nature, these subjects are less fussy and rigid than fine arts. Exploration and “making it your own” are generally encouraged—the line between mistake and customization is very blurry. The goal isn’t to go to auction at Sotheby’s, but simply to complete the project. And when it’s fun and easy to complete something, kids are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Art and crafts not only encourage children to think, but also develop their skills and confidence. Craft time has also been shown to boost self-esteem in kids.

And there’s more.

Choosing colors, or working on ways to decorate craftwork helps children learn problem-solving and decision making from a tender age. Holding a crayon the right way and learning to use a paintbrush or a pair of scissors are all preschool requisites that improve motor skills. Wrapping these activities in the wonder of craft makes developing important skills feel like play.

Reducing screen time

The American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) strictly advises limiting the screen time of kids between the ages of two to five years to just one hour or less per day. This can be difficult, especially if a child has gotten used to frequent screen time. But when kids are busy with crafty activities, they often forget all about the screen because they’re so engaged.. Try incorporating simple crafts into your routine, and you just might find that there’s a lot less boredom-induced whining around your house.

Need more convincing that trading screen time for craft time is a good idea? Consider this: Exposure to excessive screen time causes sleeplessness and obesity and negatively impacts learning skills. Arts and crafts improve cognitive processes in children, helping them learn languages better and faster.

Fostering self expression and creativity

Involving your kids in art and craft activities from a young age boosts their creativity, fuels their imagination, and helps them learn to express themselves. Kids who can think creatively and independently are in a better position to develop a strong sense of self, think outside the box, and grow up to be responsible individuals.

It’s clear that arts and crafts are a crucial part of the development process.That said, forcing your kids to draw or sketch can be a counterproductive exercise.

We have a few tips to keep crafting fun, lighthearted and stress free.

  1. Give your kids creative freedom. There’s no “right way” to draw when you’re expressing yourself. A child who has freedom to draw a duck with six legs will be more confident and self-assured.
  2. If you’re crafty, you know how fun it is to browse the arts and crafts aisle at the store. Let your kids choose some special art supplies to make craft time more fun.
  3. Don’t make an arts and crafts session into a routine activity. Craft time can be any time inspiration strikes, and it’s ok to skip it if your child isn’t feeling it that day.
  4. Go with the flow. Do different activities and mix it up if your child shows signs of boredom. Give them control and keep it fun.

Recognizing the power of craft

Child psychologist Haim G. Ginott, who was known for his seminal work in developing techniques of conversing with children, said, “Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” Ginott believed that children were extremely impressionable, and everything they were subjected to at an early age had an impact on their development. In this context, arts and crafts are no exception. Art is a great enabler for growing kids, helping them develop into better individuals.

As arts-based educational researchsuggests, the correlation between child development and arts and crafts is palpable and extremely real. It’s time to ditch the perception that arts and crafts are “just a hobby.” Instead, harness the benefits of craft to empower your kid to become a better, happier and more responsible young adult.

about-kellie

Hey, I’m Kellie full time mom part time crafter

I am a mother of four who has found salvation in sitting down with her littles (and the big ones, too) and making stuff. I am a true believer in how much easier it is to bond and have fun when you are in the creative or active process of making. I am excited to share my best projects with you here! And maybe a few of the more challenging ones, too…

hear my story
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