Each kid has his/her own individual learning style. Take my two; one loves to learn through play and the other enjoys all things artsy. This constantly pushes me to come up with ways to keep them both engaged with new games and craft activities.
At times, they are good sports and take an interest in what the other is doing – this allows them to learn newer skills and it is never a bad idea to mix up learning methods as it will stop them from getting into a rut. New ways of doing things can open up new ways of thinking.
Initially I thought of a craft activity as just a craft activity, and that it simply meant that my daughter leaned towards creativity. Crafts were simply a way for her to explore her creative side. As a preschooler, this interest gave her plenty of opportunity to practice her fine motor skills. It also meant she had to deal with situations like the glue running out and to come up with alternate ways of doing things, which got her into problem solving and decision making mode. Getting her started on easy crafts made her feel more confident and soon she began to work independently and occasionally came up with her own suggestions.
What I discovered was that not only do craft activities provide ample opportunity to exercise various skills, they can also be used to teach other subjects. Even if they don’t deal with the actual subject, these activities can spark an interest in the subject like making finger puppets before a lesson on animals.
One of the reasons why crafts can be used to teach is that when kids engage in a hands-on activity, they will be able to retain what they have learnt for longer than say, what they have read in a book.
Here are a few things my kids have worked on to learn about various subjects.
- Writing – Created a chapbook to jot down thoughts and anecdotes.
- Science – Learnt about plants – the parts and what they need to grow – by making a cut out of a plant.
- Math – Origami and geometric paper constructions were a great way to learn about shapes.
- Social Studies – Paper-mâché globe, paper tepees and flags were a fun way to explore the world and cultures.
- Social Skills – Created emoticon paper magnets while learning about different kinds of feelings.
Though scouring for apps seemed like an easier alternative, putting together crafts activities was not such a hassle especially now that my kids restrict their craft work to a designated area. It is surprisingly easy to create activities using items around the house. It also helps to stock on some craft essentials like glue, scissors and construction paper. They are easily available at crafts stores, failing which they can be ordered online.
Corinne Jacob is a wannabe writer who is convinced that kids learn best when they’re having fun. She is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make learning an enjoyable experience. Corinne loves all things that scream out un-schooling, alternative education and holistic learning. She can be reached on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.