I love to do crafts with my kids. Glue, paint, paper scraps, markers, popsicle sticks, even…dare I say it…GLITTER…I love it all. Assembling a craft may seem frivolous and mismatched in today’s elementary classroom, but I beg to differ. I believe that crafts can be meaningful, engaging, and purposeful for our little learners.
First of all, there is value in the process that goes into following directions, manipulating materials, and seeing a project through to the end. Upon completion, there is a sense of pride in the end result. The glow that radiates from a child’s face as he shows you his artwork is priceless. Plus, learning to follow directions is a lifelong skill – and one that you won’t regret reinforcing through a content-related craft.
I also believe crafts are age-appropriate, particularly when it comes to fine-motor skills. Students must manipulate paper, apply pressure to scissors along specific margins, stream a paint-filled brush across a page, or grasp a variety of small sundries while they turn unrelated materials into works of art.
Another important benefit of completing the occasional classroom craft is the mental stimulation and rest it provides to kiddos who spend lots of brain power each day engaging in rigorous instruction. Pablo Picasso even said, Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life. So true, right?! It’s pretty incredible that we can teach a life-long love of creation and provide them with a valuable coping strategy for dealing with life all with a little cutting and pasting.
Though our kids see craft projects as FUN (and that really should be enough of a justification to incorporate them into our lesson plans), the benefits are far-reaching and long-lasting. Curriculum, content, and creativity can all be uncovered with a craft. So, all of this to say: don’t be scared. Do a craft!
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If you want to read more about the mental health benefits of creating art, check out this article.