With children getting their first phones at 10 years old and tablet use being a primary form of in-car entertainment, is there anywhere free from screens? It's become normal to see children of all ages absorbed in screens and plenty of kids under 10 are adept at swiping and scrolling.
Screen usage has now been linked to delayed brain development in children under six years old which is the opposite of what any parent wants to hear. Face-to-face conversation and physical interaction remain superior to screen education so striving for more off-screen activities is essential and children's art and crafts are the perfect answer.
If you'd love for your children to engage in offline activities with huge learning benefits, getting them crafty is ideal. With physical and mental strengths improving through art and mucking about with materials, this form of expression goes far beyond learning to paint.
Keep reading to find out the amazing benefits that arts and crafts hold for kids. Soon you'll be getting out your old aprons and laying out the newspaper. Of course, you might have to spend more time clearing up!
1. Challenges Mental Ability
Have you ever sat with a piece of blank paper and not known what to put on it? Arts and crafts continually set us up against the challenge of choosing what to create.
Toddlers will need to decide on a scene to paint during a finger-painting activity as well as what colours to use. Of course, there's no right or wrong answer, but they'll naturally feel compelled to pursue a particular image.
Young children might love a paint-by-numbers or a dot-to-dot challenge too. These types of art need concentration and precision to reveal the final image. Getting out a big box of crafty materials will challenge any child, as they'll have complete creative freedom. This challenges them to imagine what they could make and select the materials they'll need to execute their idea.
2. Boosts Motor Skills
Without fine motor skills, we'd all be dropping things and avoiding zips for the rest of our lives. Children start developing motor skills from the moment they grip your finger as newborns but screens might hamper those efforts. Motor skills form in the three-dimensional world where kids will be using depth perception as well as fine movements.
With arts and crafts, kids can hone their fine motor skills. From holding a paintbrush to sticking a googly eye on a sock puppet, these challenges help children perform small movements with increasingly better control.
3. Improves Coordination
Hand-eye coordination isn't just important for baseball, it's a useful skill throughout our lives. Hand-eye coordination is the act of using visual information to guide the movement of our hands and we use it far more than we might realise.
When building, painting and making things, children are continually looking at what they're doing and using their hands in reaction to it. The more children use this process, the stronger and more accurate it'll get and it's never too early to start. Physical activities are essential for developing both motor skills and good hand-eye coordination.
4. Encourages Decision-Making
Will your child choose the blue buttons or the yellow buttons for their doll's new dress? Are they going to build a cardboard house or paint a picture of their favourite toy? Own lives are filled with decisions and if children don't practice the skill of making them, they could become paralysed by choice.
Children often don't know what they want or they can't work out what they need to alleviate how they're feeling. Arts and crafts are the ideal activities that develop decision-making skills in a safe environment. When your child has lots of options to choose from, they'll learn to weigh up different priorities and desires to make a decision.
As decision-making improves, they'll become less unsure when you ask them which delicious smoothie they want to drink next! Don't we all wish we could be more decisive?
5. Makes Room for Self-Expression
Both children and adults have to spend a lot of time conforming to society's expectations. If children are constantly told what to do and think from a young age, they might struggle to express themselves in their social or work lives down the line. Making space to encourage self-expression helps children learn about who they are and what they like.
Art is a fantastic activity to enable self-expression and crafts can help children take more creative control over their environment. Why not have them paint a bathroom storage container? Who needs to buy the same one everyone else does from the shop when your kids can customise one and express themselves?
You'll always want to prevent your child getting sick but if they do, a simple activity like drawing can provide easy relief from the boredom of being in bed. Instead of watching endless TV, art can be soothing and help distract your child from their symptoms. With a FeverMates cooling patch, you can bring their temperature down and let them express themselves in their rest time.
6. Encourages Experimentation
Experimentation is the reason humans have created medicine, technology, and catwalk trends. Without it, we wouldn't be the species we are today. Yet children are told the 'right' way to do things all the time. Whilst it's often necessary, there are many occasions where the 'right' way is actually just our way.
Crafts are a brilliant way to encourage experimentation and are a safe activity to let children try out whatever they like. Instead of asking, 'will this work?', they can try it for themselves and learn by doing. Only when children see for themselves that some things won't work, will they be able to understand how to interact with the world.
Who knows, they might become the next Picasso or Frank Gehry.
7. Lifts Restrictions
There are few instances in the world where there is truly no right way of doing something. Art is an activity where children can not only experiment, but they can learn about the infinite possibilities available to them. There are only so many ways you can build a lego tower, but there is no end to the ways you can draw a picture.
Experiencing this sense of endless possibilities enables children to access their creativity on a different level from anything else they might do. They can express themselves, experiment and invent new styles to their heart's content. By discovering that art is endless and that there's no right and wrong within it, they can draw and paint without self-consciousness.
Art is for every day but you know already that it can be hard to fit in. Why not put a blank postcard and a pencil in your child's lunchbox each morning? They can draw anything they want after they've eaten their lunch and share it with you when they come home. Showing them they can do art anywhere helps them see that it's a space with no restrictions.
8. Improves Understanding of Materials
Understanding how you interact with different materials is so ingrained that you won't even be conscious of it. You know how different materials behave, what works with what and whether pen will wash off a mug. Your kids might not have learnt that yet though.
Crafting is a great way for children to learn about different materials through experimenting with them. By letting them do arts and crafts with materials like foil, wood, fabric and metal, they'll be able to test out different projects and interact with these materials for themselves.
9. Develops Engineering Skills
Has your child ever tried building three-dimensional objects? Engineering skills sounds extreme but it's a perfectly normal and useful skillset for children to learn. With a handle on how to interact with different materials, learning to put them together to create their ideas is a fundamental lesson.
By building things out of craft materials, children will have to stretch their minds and consider how to join, support and build what they intend. This challenging activity can follow them out into the world around them too. Next time you're planning a family holiday, consider which buildings and bridges you could visit. Pointing out how amazing architecture is might give your kids more ideas for their own projects.
10. Teaches Physics
Physics can be a head-scratcher in school but when children can see how it affects everything they do, it might become less baffling. Experimenting with crafts means learning about physics at every turn.
Encouraging Children's Art and Crafts Gives Them Lifelong Skills
The digital world is enticing with endless games, adverts for new toys and video after video. With too much screen time having a negative effect though, getting children involved in the physical world is important. Every parent wants their kids to learn the skills they'll need to thrive and children's art and crafts have so many benefits.
From self-expression and experimenting to tuning fine motor skills and learning to make decisions, art and crafts challenge children continually. These fun activities don't feel like learning though and are much more like play, allowing kids to become absorbed and learn at a faster rate.
Arts and crafts are good for those times your children are sick too. With no restrictions and little energy required, spending time painting is fun and easy for ill kids. To monitor their fever with ease, check out our Stick On Temperature Indicators. They're easy to keep in the cupboard for those times when a fever hits, right next to the paint supplies.