The Growing Skill of Drawing
Drawing moves from simple scribbles and jumbles to more detailed art that can be used within many fun projects. Remember that young children still have a limited attention span. There are lots of preparation involved starting up any arts and crafts activity, so it’s sensible to work through two or three mini projects in any single session. This maintains and sparks their enthusiasm. If you are planning a drawing session, you could begin by drawing simple shapes and images and challenging your students to copy. This could progress to an effective introduction to coloring in.
Fill a sheet of blank paper with random squiggles and shapes, and then encourage the child to fill in the pattern with blocks of color. This arts and crafts idea is an effective way to promote pen control and color design. The session could end with a game using hands and feet as simple stencils. Once there is an outline on paper, promote the child’s creativity by using the shapes as a base to create animals or faces. Suddenly, toes and fingers become horns, manes, or tentacles!
Another perfect arts and crafts activity for the younger child is painting. It is again advisable to have several activities planned. Simple techniques like blow painting are a great idea. All you require is thin paint and a straw. The child spreads the paint by blowing and experimenting with different effects. Once interest has waned you can resort to exploring other paint techniques using simple items like string or a cotton reel.
Another paint craft idea is the butterfly print. This never fails to delight the preschool child. Fold back half of a piece of paper, let the child paint the visible half with lots of appealing colors, then firmly close the paper in on itself using the central fold. Watch the smiles when the child opens up the paper card to find a glorious butterfly splashed across the page. If the paint has spread, the child can help you to recreate the butterfly shape using child-sized scissors.
Starting to Cut and Stick
It is important to introduce the child to a range of different arts and crafts. The easiest and most satisfying craft idea is cutting and sticking. At this stage, just use old magazines, a sheet of paper and a non-toxic glue stick. Learning to control scissors, the preschool child loves to choose appealing and exciting pictures and photos to cut and stick into a personal collage.
Simple Building and Modeling
At this age kids can explore simple arts and crafts by building and modeling. Again, keep it simple and use this craft idea to explore the possibilities offered by simple household items. Could a plastic milk carton become a car or plane by the simple addition of cardboard wings or wheels? What about the toilet roll that’s just itching to become a space rocket? Arts and crafts are the ideal way to reach the child to look at the world with fresh and imaginative eyes.
The world is an exciting place for the growing child which makes their attention very limited at best. Remember; line up several craft ideas for any arts and crafts sessions. Above all, continue to keep it simple, don’t bombard the child with lots of sophisticated crafts ideas. Look at the basic skills and use them to generate ideas in the child’s mind. The idea at this stage is to confirm that the world is place full of exciting ideas and possibilities.
Skills Typically Developed Through Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts activities can provide each child with wonderful opportunities to create unique forms and pictures as well as explore materials and experiment with the use of various “tools.” Remember, the experience or process is more important than the product.
Here is a listing of the type of skills that can be developed through arts and crafts:
- Creative expression
- Fine-motor development
- Building self-esteem
- Using drawing, writing, cutting tools
- Learning properties of substances
- Following directions
- Manipulation of various materials and tools
- Pre-literacy skills
- Finding new ways to use materials
Communication and Interaction Tips, Activities, and Ideas
- Materials – Talk about the various materials and how they are used. For example: “Scissors are sharp for cutting,” “Glue is sticky to keep things together.”
- Word Lists – Describe how materials feel or what can be done with the materials. For example: when painting at an easel, show them how to mix the colors red and blue together to change the paint to purple.
- Label Works of Art – Write the date and child’s name in the upper left hand corner of the paper. Say the name and letters as you write them.
- In the Child’s Words – Write down what the child tells you about his or her picture. It’s best to write the exact words the child uses to describe the picture.
- Showcase Artworks – Children’s crafts map a child’s development and skills. This journey through preschool deserves to be proudly exhibited in colorful displays. Dry or display artworks by using a drying rack or stringing a clothesline across a wall and using clothes pins to attach the artwork. Artwork should be displayed throughout the school.
Cross Curriculum Lessons, Activities and Resources
Finding ways to incorporate arts and crafts into the everyday classroom is essential. It’s been proven that early exposure to visual art, music, or drama promotes activity in the brain. What better way to create excitement in the math, science or history classroom? Arts and crafts activities help children understand other subjects much more clearly… from math and science, to reading and language arts, and to music and movement.
So go ahead, start incorporating arts and crafts into your everyday teaching. Your students will thank you!
*This article was prepared especially for Saint Matthew’s Publishing Corporation.