Using Craft To Help With Toddler Development
The craft table – a staple in all nurseries and schools that are still standing the test of time against the growing influence of technology, and there’s a good reason for it.
Aside from the fact that kids love getting messy and doing activities, crafts can improve their childhood development. So making things is actually good for them in the long run. Crafts foster a sense of creativity, imagination, helps their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, improves their memory and aids them in developing their social skills too. Plus, many parents find those slow communicators can express themselves better emotionally using art and crafts to release some of that frustration.
It’s amazing how something so cost-effective and simple can have so many benefits for our children, so let’s look at these in more detail.
Creativity and Imagination
Imagining a world outside of what they can see and using crafts to support this allows your children to improve their cognitive development. Crafts allow your child to experiment and easily express themselves, giving you a view into how they see the world around them, or what they would like to see. Are they imagining superheroes and being able to fly? Or perhaps they are creating weird and wonderful animals that are a blend of what they have seen before?
Creative Problem Solving
Being able to create something from a blank piece of paper or selection of materials encourages children to delve into their creativity. This same creativity is the foundation for innovation in adults. When a new invention is made, or a breakthrough is discovered, this is based on people who can see what they want to achieve and try to get there through creative problem solving.
Crafts in Role Play
Crafts can also improve creativity by setting up for role-play, allowing children to transform themselves into new characters. For example, when making superhero masks, children can discover the qualities that make a superhero, as well as recognising these particular traits in day-to-day people. This draws their creative thinking and real-world together, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding.
Hand-Eye Coordination and Fine Motor Skills
Whether it’s colouring between the lines, cutting out a shape, or carefully sticking things together, all these activities require fine motor skills. Frequently doing these small actions help to strengthen your child’s muscles and improve dexterity in their fingers. Over time, they will become quicker and gain more control over their actions, which further leads to better creative and life skills.
Motor Skills in Life
Developing fine motor skills is how your child will be able to do up their own buttons on their shirt, tie their shoelaces, or cut up their dinner. Holding a paintbrush and holding a fork, for example, use the same dexterity, muscles, and motor skills, so it’s easy to see how they can translate.
Fine motor skills are so important, they are even using arts and crafts for the elderly to improve independence and retain dexterity, as we lose these skills over time. Fostering a love of crafts and creativity, as well as the skills they bring, will stay with your children later in life, so it’s important to start them young.
Coordination in Education
Children may not use them early on, but hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills are the basis for handwriting. Combined with the spatial awareness that working with 3D shapes and crafts bring, these will help them to form the letters for handwriting that is needed in school.
Crafts that require spatial awareness, such as with junk modeling or creating shapes, encourage visual learning in children. They need to remember the design of a 3D shape, how the pieces fit together and remember complex layouts. Have you ever tried to organise your cupboards, playing Tetris with all of your belongings to try and make everything fit? This is your spatial memory and visual learning at work and crafts can get you there faster.
Although arts and crafts can be done independently, they are excellent for building social interaction. Shy children, in particular, can often feel overwhelmed, so crafts create a ‘halfway house’ that allows children to create something on their own whilst being around others to develop important social skills.
Bonding with Family
Finding time to spend with your children can be difficult, and crafts offer the perfect solution because they are flexible with the time and resources you have available. Just be prepared to use your imagination. Get the most from crafting with your kids by starting conversations on what they’re doing, learning about what is leading them to make the choices they are, and the creativity behind it. Crafts can help in starting the conversation with your children and easily give you that special bonding time that can be hard to come by in today’s modern times.
For the grandparents who may not be as spritely as they once were, crafts create the opportunity to spend time with their grandchildren that they both can enjoy. As we’ve mentioned, crafts benefit both seniors and children alike, so giving the grandparents the gift of crafts can improve both skills whilst developing that important bond between them.
Interacting with Peers
Communicating with peers is an important aspect in childhood development. Something as simple as asking someone to pass the pencil requires a two-way communication that both children learn from. It’s these crucial micro-interactions that will establish their understanding of other human behaviour and how people tend to react in certain situations.
The next step up from this is children creating something together, and this can be very challenging but full of developmental opportunities. Having to share ideas and listen to each other, as well as navigating task delegation and deciding who has the best skills for which role can often end in tears. However, it’s an important skill for your children to learn, and they will base their future social behaviour on these interactions, both good and bad.
Many adults use art and creation to express what they are feeling to others, and for children, it can be no different. Emotions are difficult to understand and process, particularly in the early years, and this can result in outbursts or ‘naughty’ behaviour. Using crafts can help them show their emotions, even if they don’t understand them, and offer you insight into how your child is feeling, as well as giving you an opportunity to discuss this with them.
Crafts as Communication
Late communicators or those with communication difficulties can find many activities frustrating. However, physical activities like sports or art and crafts can offer an outlet for their frustration and allow them to express themselves effectively in a way that they can understand and you can translate. For parents of non-communicative children, arts and crafts can be one of the few ways they are able to connect and offers valuable bonding time to be a part of their child’s life.
Resilience and Confidence
Sometimes in crafts, as in life, things don’t always go according to plan. Big dreams can often be met with real-world barriers and things not turning out the way we want to, and children have to cope with that. Disappointment isn’t fun for anyone, adult or child, but discovering barriers and how to overcome them is extremely helpful in developing healthy coping mechanisms.
Your child will need to navigate these issues and try to find solutions for themselves. Testing, reaching barriers, finding what works and what doesn’t, is all par for the course and gives them the experience of small failures. This makes them more confident decision makers over time and allows them to understand failure, trying new things and the consequence of a decision – all important skills they will need later in life.
There’s no doubt about crafts improving childhood development. It’s amazing to think how many benefits something so cost-effective and easy can bring to your children, as well as how the effects last long-term.
If you want to start improving your child’s development through crafts, let us help you! Click here to get Australia’s best value-for-money monthly craft pack to ignite curiosity and kickstart your creative learning.