Why arts and crafts are beneficial for young children
Crafts benefit children in many different ways and, even if children aren’t quite sure what they’re making, then they will be working on their gross and fine motor skills. Working with their hands and practising the small, repetitive movements, such as picking up objects or using a pen-like grasp on a paintbrush, helps to refine their pincer grasp and can encourage them to take notice of their focus and discipline.
Encouraging any kind of creative play with younger children can be hugely beneficial, even if your child doesn’t seem invested in doing much just yet. Take things slowly and don’t expect a huge elaborate craft creation from them at first! Encourage your child to speak their mind and tell you what they are thinking and why whilst they are doing crafts, as this also helps their verbal development and ability to form sentences.
Try not to be too focused on the mess aspect or the clean-up afterwards. This is a natural part of your child’s development and should be encouraged and, if they see you getting stressed and angry over the mess they created, no matter if it is unintentional, they will be reluctant to do it again. There are plenty of ways you can avoid paint-stained clothes or spilt beads, from coverall bibs to craft trays.
The best crafts for young children
If you’re not sure what crafts are age-appropriate for young children, then it’s best to think simple. Toddlers, especially, should be focused on simple activities which aren’t too complex or have too many steps, as more complex crafts can cause them to feel frustrated or lose interest.
It is best to use craft materials and elements which aren’t too fiddly, small or difficult to use. Working with buttons, beads and counters can help with counting skills and development, whilst painting and glueing can help with colour recognition and vocabulary. Make sure that any arts and crafts projects are fun, but also be sure to keep a close watch over it all, especially if smaller parts are being used.
Young children love dipping stamps into paint pots or ink and leaving fun marks all over their piece of paper. You can use household items to make your own stamps, such as wine corks, toy blocks or even craft your own from vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and turnips! Then, you can use poster paints or edible paints and get crafting!
Paper Plate Faces
This simple and fun craft is inexpensive and will help your little ones work on their fine motor skills. Get them to make faces of family members, draw funny monsters or planets with craft materials you have lying around the house- pens, pencils and scrap paper works well with this craft. Glue them to lollypop sticks or straws once finished and they have a fun mask!
A classic craft you might remember from being young, pasta necklaces are a fun and therapeutic craft for little ones. All you need is some string, pasta and some paints or felt tips if you want to make them colourful. By threading the pasta onto the string, they are developing their fine motor skills, too.
Nature-inspired art is a double-whammy of activities for little ones - the woodland walk to collect materials, plus the painting craft at the end! This crafting activity enables toddlers to learn about the natural world around them in a completely new way and, as they leave behind the patterns of the materials they picked up on their walk, they’ll be able to study the natural shapes, colours and patterns left behind.
Playdough is often considered the work of the devil by most parents - it’s sticky, gets mixed up with other toys and gets left around the house. However, if you’re looking for a rainy day craft activity to do with young children, then making your own playdough is much more fun and is more of a sensory experience, rather than play. You can make up numerous batches in different colours and add things such as scents and beads to make it more interesting to hold.
Site last updated 17. February 2021