Crafting or doing activities with your kids transforms the time spent together into quality time. It doesn’t matter if you have all day every day or if you only have an hour a week, any time you spend doing something together has immense benefits for your child. It is important that you do it WITH your child though in order to reap the most benefits and make it a true learning experience.
1) Crafting together is a social moment. Sitting around a table as a family to accomplish a task together is both rewarding and important to develop social skills. Your child will learn to work in a team, to follow instructions, to give his input and listen to others. That is why doing it together, as a group, is so important. It is good to have a balance of tasks that your child can do by himself, to foster his independence, and tasks he needs to have help with. Not only it helps him work in a group, where you shouldn’t be doing everything by yourself, it also helps him learn new skills just by watching you.
2) Crafting develops fine motor skills and creativity.
3)Crafting helps with problem solving and making choices. Let your child make some decisions on how the craft is going to be done, don’t just tell him how it is supposed to be done but let him also reach the right conclusion. If he thinks the sky should be brown that is fine, if he can’t figure out how to finish a task let him try for a bit but then offer to show him the solution before the task gets too frustrating.
4) Crafting together can foster linguistic development. As you are working together as a task you have an invaluable chance for linguistic interaction, that can help increase his vocabulary or it can even be a perfect chance to teach him a foreign language. If you are raising a bilingual son use craft time to use the language your child has the least chance to use. If you do know any foreign language, use it during craft time! It is amazing how quickly kids can grasp things like the names of colors or objects or basic actions in another language.
5) A craft can be an excuse to learn a lot of different things: from the alphabet, to shapes, from the solar system to math, you can find a craft (especially on this website) to learn pretty much anything.
Here are some tips on how to have a fun and successful crafting experience with your child:
1) Remember to focus : choose a craft that you also like, or that you used to like as a child, and show your child that you are engaged. Dedicate your time and full attention to it: stop checking your cell phone, turn off your tv etc. Not only it is going to make your child feel that you value your time with him, it will also teach him how to focus on one thing at a time, a useful skill once he goes to school.
2) Use positive reinforcement : don’t forget to praise him for his accomplishments and show his finished project with pride to other members of the family or friends. Try not to focus on what he did wrong or what he wasn’t able to do right. Positive reinforcement is a great learning tool plus it will make him feel good about himself and make him look forward to another craft time with you!
3) Take small steps: choose a quick craft at first or break down a longer craft into multiple sessions. Learn to recognize when your child is too tired or distracted to continue and don’t make crafting a chore. It is hard not to be disappointed when you put some time planning something to do together and your child doesn’t seem to appreciate it, but don’t give up and try again another time! You can also try starting the craft on your own or with a partner ( your significant other, another child, a grandparent) and let the child come to you out of curiosity.
4) Plan ahead of time: some crafts require a certain amount of preparation. Make sure you have all the supplies you need and maybe even doing the hardest parts or those that require more patience ahead of time, so that your child, especially a younger one, can jump right into the action without having to wait for too long.
In this website we did some of the planning and preparation for you: you will find plenty of projects to make with your child, mostly with materials that are easy to find. We hope that by making the planning time a little shorter you will be able to enjoy your family time for a little longer!
Posted by Gabriella