I know some parents hate ‘arts and crafts’, they are messy….if you, like me, have ever accidentally bought that super fine glitter which shoots up when opened and hangs suspended in the air, you will know what I mean. I have, more than once, turned up to the school gate looking like I am on my way to a glam rock concert. I have got to the point now where I can hold my head high, and say ‘yes, that is play doh in my hair, I have been making memories, people!’
I learnt to crochet when I was pregnant with Twinkle in 2009. My DH is an amazing musician and we had had a conversation about what instruments our children might learn (you know first pregnancy…..when everything is rainbows and unicorns…and naps…remember those!). I had a massive panic that I didn’t have a skill to teach my children, so I picked up a hook and a copy of Jan Eaton’s An Encyclopedia of Crochet and became totally addicted!
There are developmental advantages to craft, it tunes fine motor skills, teaches bilateral co-ordination, and provides opportunities to practice counting and measuring. Richard Rende, a developmental psychologist believes that the key visual processing skills used in craft are very similar to those used in both maths and reading.
It is a sad fact that many children start school unable to use a pair of scissors. Paper scissors are quite safe for preschool children. That being said, I once cut a very large chunk out of my hair with a pair of pinking scissors so supervision is recommended!
Creating with our children teaches them that they are capable of making beautiful things with their hands. It provides opportunity for eye contact and working towards a common goal.
My children love to use story telling as part of their creative process. Through the use of open ended questions and exposure to new vocabulary, it can be great for children’s communication skills. Some of the most important conversations I have had with my children have happened whilst spending time glueing, colouring and cutting, when they have my sole attention.
There is an unlimited amount of free natural resources right outside our doors. When foraging for natural materials, my children have noticed tiny things which they wouldn’t have otherwise noticed. New shoots on plants, what is flowering this season, mini beasts lurking in corners, what birds visit our garden. Our garden is tiny but provides us with a wealth of ideas and keeps the children busy for hours! As well as saving money, you are also helping the environment if you forage for your own, rather than purchasing plastic wrapped materials from the shop. I find my children are more invested in an activity if they have gathered and chosen the materials themselves.
This is a mandala we made with items we found around our garden.
My children have completely different personalities. It would never occur to my 6 year old that she was doing something wrong (a belief she is always right…? Maybe I passed on more than just my love of glitter!). She has a wonderful ability to throw herself into an activity and see what happens. My three year old is completely different, she worries about getting anything wrong, more prescriptive activities end up crumpled and tear stained on the floor. Craft encourages her to get messy, make mistakes and have fun at the same time.
I strongly believe it is important to be as proud of our children’s creative pursuits as it is to be proud of the academic or sporty ones. My children might not be able to throw a ball in a straight line but they totally rock at glitter craft!
The most important reason I craft with my children! IT’S FUN!!!!!!