The importance of art and craft in early education is well-known. Be it making miniature statues from clay or coloring with crayons, folding papers expertly to make origami shapes or preparing a handmade birthday card, there are numerous benefits of art and craft activities.
Also, art and craft activities spike a child's interest and tap his artistic potential. By introducing your child to art and craft or encouraging him to take it up, you will sow the seeds for his physical, social and cognitive development.
Importance of art and craft in early childhood education
The importance of art and craft in child development can be gauged from the fact it has emotional, physical, cognitive and learning benefits. Here are a few positives of childhood art and craft activities:
Art and craft for physical benefits
Develops fine motor skills: As most arts and crafts activities involve moving the hands and fingers, they help in developing fine motor skills. Even simple actions like coloring with pencils or holding a paintbrush help to strengthen the muscles and improve their control.
Increases dexterity: Arts and crafts can increase the agility and dexterity of a child. With practice and improvement of fine motor skills, his manual dexterity, speed and artistic skills will also increase.
Improves hand-eye coordination: Engaging in arts and crafts-related activities from a very young age leads to tremendous improvement in hand-eye coordination. This will help a child during the later primary-school years when she is forming letters or spacing out words.
Art and craft for social/emotional benefits
Encourages self-expression: Engaging in a creative pursuit like arts and crafts gives a child the opportunity to express his feelings in a meaningful, tangible and positive way. He also derives satisfaction from making something on his own.
Helps in socializing: Being together with other children in an art class gives a child the opportunity to interact and socialize with those sharing similar interests. And when parents show an interest in doing the activity with their child, it strengthens the parent-child bond as well.
Boosts self-esteem: Art and craft-related activities instill a sense of pride and achievement in a child, which helps in boosting his self-esteem.
Art and craft for cognitive benefits
Enhances innovation and creative ability: The opportunity to create whatever a child wants to encourage innovation. And the ability to think and solve problems she might face while making something enhances creativity.
Sharpens decision-making skills: Facing and solving artistic challenges will help a child learn to make effective and correct decisions. This helps to develop a problem-solving attitude, which will also help him in other endeavors of his life.
Improves visual learning and memory: Through arts and crafts, a child not only learns about new shapes and colors but also becomes aware of different patterns and figures. Activities such as jewelry making or sculpting even require visualizing and memorizing complex designs in the mind.
What kind of art and craft should your child do?
Art and craft for toddlers
Finger painting: Using adhesive tape stick an A4 sheet to the cutting board or any other surface. Give your child a few dishes of natural/organic paint and let her get creative.
Wood-block printing: If your child no longer plays with the wooden blocks he was so fond of at one time, you can ask him to dip them in paint and make shapes on chart paper.
Bubble wrap painting: Most of the items you buy online comes packed in bubble wrap. Instead of throwing them away, encourage your little one to paint the bubbles in various colors.
Bead necklace: Give your kid a piece of plastic twine and a few beads. Introduce her to handicrafts by asking her to put the twine through the holes in the beads and make a necklace for you.
Toilet roll binocular: Do not throw away the old toilet rolls (cardboard tubes). If you have a couple of them, give them to your toddler with a piece of string. Ask him to place the rolls, side by side and tie them with a string to make a binocular for himself.
Leaf impressions: Ask your little one to collect a few leaves from the backyard. She can paint these and stick them using a glue stick in her drawing book.
Art and craft for preschoolers
Stencil art: Give your child a few stencil art templates and ask him to draw the various shapes. This helps with the development of fine motor skills.
Sock puppets: Your child and her buddies can make puppets out of their old socks and put up a puppet show for you.
Rainbow and clouds: Ask your little one to draw a rainbow on a sheet of paper. Then, ask him to stick cotton balls around it to show a cloudy sky.
Family album: Print a copy of photographs of your family members. Now, ask your child to stick them in a notebook and make a family album.
Ice art: Freeze water in a bowl. Once frozen, ask your child to sprinkle salt and watercolor on the ice ball to create unique patterns.
The various benefits of arts and crafts also extend to the development of cultural awareness and improved academic performance as well. When so many benefits are packaged in arts and crafts, and that too with fun and excitement, why not allow your child to engage in it?