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Thursday, April 12, 2018

It's National Craft Month! 7 Benefits of Arts and Crafts for Kids

Photo by San Jose Public Library (Flickr)

Although my girls love to engage in active play, they also enjoy creative art and craft projects. They were especially excited to celebrate National Craft Month in March and used the month to learn how to make origami and bead earrings. We had so much fun that we plan to continue the celebration all year! You can encourage your kids to participate, too, because doing arts and crafts helps kids in seven beneficial ways.

Improve Fine Motor Skills and Coordination

While manipulating crayons, braiding yarn, and spreading glue, children practice finger and hand movements that improve their fine motor skills and coordination. These skills equip kids to tie their shoes, write or use a stylus, feed themselves, and hold a ball successfully.

Develop Executive Functioning

When our kids can focus on an activity, control their impulses, and direct themselves, they exhibit executive functioning skills. Use art and craft time to help your child develop these essential life and social skills. As they color mandalas, wait for paint to dry, or choose from a variety of possible artistic or crafty projects and activities, they practice the executive functioning skills that equip them to succeed in school, with friends, and in life.

Boost Confidence and Self-Esteem

After trying for days to master folding a complicated paper bird, my younger daughter finally succeeded. I loved seeing the joy on her face, and the confidence she felt boosted her self-esteem. Your kids will develop confidence and self-esteem, too, as they find projects they enjoy, practice their creativity, make mistakes, and achieve goals.

Hone Creativity

Our kids seem to have an unlimited imagination, and I love that! Let's put their creativity to good use and encourage them to draw chalk designs on the sidewalk or deck, design elaborate hats from paper, and mix homemade play dough. These fun and interesting activities hone their creativity and innovation, skills they need to solve problems, adapt to change, and handle diverse challenges successfully.

Learn Self-Expression

Kids may not always have the words to express themselves, but arts and crafts can give them a voice. Watch your child's artwork and the objects they choose to manipulate for clues to their emotional health. I've also seen parents, caregivers, and teachers introduce creative projects that draw out a shy or reserved child, help a child deal with trauma, or encourage children to express their emotions, ideas, thoughts, and opinions.

Discover Beauty

Our world is filled with color, patterns, and texture. As our kids work on arts and crafts projects like photo collages, flower-arranging, and soap-making, they create their own works of art and learn to look for and appreciate beauty around them.

Enjoy Free Play

My girls spend the majority of their day at school and in organized activities, but free play is essential. It helps them discover skills and talents, prompts their imaginations, and gives them space and time to relax. Consider stocking art and craft projects and supplies, giving your kids space to work on projects they enjoy, participating in the creative process with them, and pulling out the art and craft supplies during play dates. These free play opportunities help our kids learn and grow as they have fun.

Our kids gain seven important benefits when they do arts and crafts. At my house, we're excited to continue celebrating National Craft Month all year, and we invite you to join us. What project or activity will you and your kids enjoy first?

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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