I learned to love arts and crafts at an early age. It is something that I always wanted to pass down to my children. When they were in public school, they really did not have any exposure to arts and crafts except for the occasional coloring page or Christmas project. However, those types of activities were not deemed as educational by the powers that be, so time that was spent on them was very limited.
When we first began homeschooling, I wanted to make sure that we spent some time with arts and crafts, in addition to our studies, because I feel there are significant learning opportunities in crafting. First, some children are not naturally able to hold scissors or cut with them. My son was an example of this. Since crafting was not done in his classroom at school, he had no clue how to hold scissors, let alone do anything productive with them. For whatever reason, his fine motor skills were behind that of other children his age. Just the little act of learning to cut with scissors was a huge accomplishment. After that was done, then we could move onto other fine motor practice, like holding a paintbrush and eventually… a needle for plastic canvas projects.
In addition to those fine motor skills, there are other things to be learned through crafting. Creativity is an obvious one and it can definitely be learned as the children delve into projects. Give them opportunities to not only complete projects that are similar to yours, but let them come up with ideas of their own and give them a try. You will be amazed with what they can create. Through the successful completion of projects, children can also learn self confidence as their self esteem is boosted by completing projects that they and others enjoy.
The great thing about crafting with your children is that they can also strengthen their reading and mathematical abilities while completing projects. If, for example, they saw a pattern for pom-pom snowmen and they really wanted to complete that project, they would have to use math and reading skills. They would need to read the materials list and follow the directions. This is not just reading the words (sometimes referred to as “word calling”) but requires comprehension of what they are reading as well. To complete their project, they need to gather materials also. They will need to have the right number of pom-poms and googly eyes and decorations that the pattern called for. They will have to count to make sure they have enough. If they want to complete more than one snowman, they would also have a chance to practice multiplication.
Although learning in these ways may not always be practical for a school classroom, they can be practical in your home school. I encourage you to take some time to craft with your children. In addition to what can be learned, you will also have an opportunity to develop some quality memories together as you share time making your creations. Have fun creating and enjoy your time together!
Copyright © Alicia Tucker, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved
About the Author: Alicia Tucker is a homeschool mom of 3 children, after having worked in public schools in NJ and SC for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Sociology, as well as a Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Curriculum and Technology. Alicia is also Moms of Faith lead prayer warrior and columnist.