Craft is fun and a great way of spending time with your children, or just keeping them occupied whilst you catch up with the washing up. Fun is always the main reason I encourage my children to get making, but there are lots of other reasons why it's really good for them to take part in creative activities.
Improving fine motor skills
Making things, drawing, painting and all sorts of other craft activities help develop the small muscles in the hands which control the hands, fingers and thumbs. These are essential for every day tasks such as holding cutlery, doing up buttons and even writing. Craft also helps develop hand eye coordination which supports fine motor skills.
Developing the skills needed for English and Maths
Yes that's right, taking part in craft activities can actually improve your children's academic performance. A US study by Richard Rende and Elmers Glue* shows that crafts help develop visual processing skills such as detecting sequences and pattern recognition, key skills needed for maths and reading.
Learning decision making skills
Creating things helps children learn how to make decisions through deciding what colours, shapes and materials they will use. Learning to make choices is an important life skill, the experience of making decision in craft projects carries over into all aspects of life. Being able to make decisions improves their life chances, helping them perform better in school and in later life.
Creative activities encourage children to use their imagination which is key to being able to innovate and come up with new ideas. The Oxford English Dictionary defines imagination as 'The faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.' and 'The ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.'
Using imagination leads to trying out new ways of doing things, experimenting, seeing things in new ways and overcoming obstacles. To be a great scientist or inventor you must first have a great imagination.
So, as if you needed another excuse to get crafting with your children, it's a good time to dig out some paper, paint, tape, cardboard... and get making.
*Read Richard Rende's full article at http://www.parenting.com/parenting-advice/tips-tricks/research-shows-parent-child-craft-time-has-lifelong-benefits
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