Any time of the year can be fun for crafts, and during the summer, crafts can be a great choice for long summer days. Kids can find materials outside with nature items like shells and rocks or inside with bits and pieces from the recycling and junk drawer. Some other materials could be buttons, bead, pipe cleaners, paper rolls, yarn, sparkles, fabric, pine cones, bits of paper, pasta, string, plastic containers, egg cartons, cotton balls, ribbons, jar or plastic container lids, and popsicle sticks, for starters.
Even though doing crafts with little ones is not always easy and they sometimes need extra help and supervision, it’s valuable for learning and supports many different skills. A craft project encourages creativity and is a form of self-expression. Kids practice planning, organizing and following directions. During the process, they also use thinking skills such as problem solving, making decision, choosing and comparing.
As kids look at what they have done, they evaluate their efforts. Not all children will feel a sense of accomplishment. Even young children can be perfectionists and feel dissatisfied and it’s important for parents and caregivers to guide children to enjoy their creations.
Kids also get some experience using tools and developing fine motor control, that is coordination and control of small muscles in the hands and wrists. All of this will support the growth of kindergarten readiness. Plus, crafts can be life-long. As an adult, do you do crafts? For many of us, the roots of craft-making go back to when we were young. Perhaps, over the summer older family members can share the fun and learning with younger ones. Is there a craft drawer or box at your house or center? Or craft event in your community?
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