Monday, December 5, 2011

Why Craft? Why Art?

Young children are eager learners. But due to their limited language, they learn more from hands-on experiences rather than from verbal instruction. They learn by moving, touching, exploring, discovering — using their five senses and movement as they learn about their expanding world.

Crafting and art are important mediums of playful learning. Play is very important for children to learn and grow. They will learn from what is interesting to them and they are capable of understanding, and doing, for their age and abilities. While they are learning, their brains are making synapses, or connections of neurons, which will enhance their learning in the future. However, it must be developmentally appropriate to hold their attention and to be beneficial. You can't rush a child to learn something they are not ready to learn. Let children enjoy childhood.

The process of making an art product can be of great interest to a young child. Children enjoy touching different textures and exploring materials as well as putting together and taking apart objects to create something unique - or just for the joy of exploring and changing something. When children are encouraged to play with art materials, they are developing: 
  • Creativity: Assembling something unique
  • Originality: Finding new ways of doing things fosters problem-solving skills
  • Planning: Thinking, following through, finishing a project
  • Cognitive Skills: Linear or sequential thinking to reach the desired result
  • Knowledge: Learning about their world by exploring textures, materials, reactions
  • Fine Motor Skills: Feeling, manipulating, sorting, arranging, pushing, placing objects
  • Exploration, Discovery & Science: How things work and change like pouring glue, playdough formations, paint mixing, gravity, and velocity
  • Language: Expression of how something feels, looks, sounds; its name and purpose
  • Math: Sorting, patterning, ordering, categorizing
  • Self-Esteem: Pride in finished project, sense of accomplishment
  • Family Play or Traditions: Family connectivity, a sense of belonging, feeling valued and wanted through proudly displayed art work.
A mother expressed her concern that her four-year-old was merely playing at his preschool while some of his peers had already memorized letters and numbers at their preschool. David Elkind, Child Psychologist and author of The Power of Play and The Hurried Child replied to her, “You know, they are having a good time, enjoying themselves here and now, and that is every bit as important and valuable as preparing for the future. Play is what young children do. While we adults may be concerned only with an activity’s long-term benefits, children are playing for the fun of it.” And they are learning in an interesting way.

The following are excerpts taken from the University of Maine Extension Program from an article titled: “Children and Brain Development: What We Know about How Children Learn.”

 At birth, a baby’s brain contains 100 billion neurons, roughly as many nerve cells as there are stars in the Milky Way, and almost all the neurons the brain will ever have. Most of its 100 billion neurons are not yet connected in networks. Forming and reinforcing these connections are the key tasks of early brain development. Connections among neurons are formed as the growing child experiences the surrounding world and forms attachments to parents, family members and other caregivers.

Early stimulation sets the stage for how children will learn and interact with others throughout life. A child’s experiences, good or bad, influence the wiring of his brain and the connection in his nervous system... In the first decade of life, a child’s brain forms trillions of connections or synapses.  As the neurons mature, more and more synapses are made. The neural network expands exponentially. If they are not used repeatedly, or often enough, they are eliminated. In this way, experience plays a crucial role in “wiring” a young child’s brain. Brain development does not stop after early childhood, but it is the foundation upon which the brain continues developing. Early childhood is the time to build either a strong and supportive, or fragile and unreliable foundation. These early years are very important in the development that continues in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. To read the entire article, click here.


Child asks, "Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?" 
* * * * *
For a glimpse into kindergarten, see  Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Let  Mommy with Selective Memory and me help your sanity with inexpensive playful activities and learn about the child development benefits in The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Both are bestsellers and make helpful gifts for parents and teachers. Also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

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  1. My kids love doing crafts. Interesting article!

  2. You have amazing blogs - great work and photos. Looks like your children are having a wonderful time. Thanks for visiting!

  3. This is great! It sums up why I do these things with my kids. I am a new follower visiting from Classified Mom and I am tweeting this. Vicky from Mess For Less

  4. Thank you so much for visiting and for tweeting. Moms love to play and teach their children but some want to know "Why is this good for my child?" So glad you liked it. I love your blog!

  5. Makes me wish I were a kid again.

  6. Jackie - aren't you sweet. Well, just craft with those grandkids or just for yourself in your spare time (LOL). Thanks for visiting! Love your books.

  7. I so loved reading this, play is so important. There is so much time to learn letters and numbers. It is much more important to me that my daughters learn to ask questions about the world and enjoy exploring.

  8. Ali - I love your site. Looks like a lot of fun there. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Love this post! Crafting is such a great way for young children to learn!

  10. Seriously I can I just cut and copy this entire post and put it on my blog...I will defintly b sharing this blog with everyoe! Thanks for this blog post! It made me smile! I have a daycare and we are sooo busy and mykids are really thriving because of it!

  11. I'm so happy you like my blog and hope more will visit. I have free educational sites for children on right column. It seems we need to justify playing and crafting - so it really is learning and teaching. Thanks for visiting. I visited everyone's blogs and love them! Blog hippity-hopping is fun.

  12. Thanks for sharing this important information about the value of playing. I hopped over from the LLI linky party.

  13. Love this! I KNOW play is crucial, but it is hard to really express why - you said it beautifully! Thanks for linking up to TGIF! See you next week,
    Beth =-)

  14. Wow.. what an intersting article of the importance of play.. I find too many people are wishing that kids would grow up faster .. but I encourage my kids to play and use imagination and creativity every day!
    Thanks so much for sharing with the Pink Hippo party .. can't wait to see what you share next!

  15. I agree, play is such an important part of a child's learning, growth, AND imagination. As a children's pastor, this is something I make sure EVERY teacher incorporates into their teaching style (even if they aren't comfortable with it). Sometimes you just have to have some FUN - why not? God gave us creativity and imagination - USE it!!! :)

    Stopping by from TGIF & Milk 'N' Honey Giveaway!


  16. Thanks for this article. It's very well written :)
    Stopping by my terrific thursday. I'm your newest GFC follower. hope you'll stop by my blog and follow back if you would like to.


  17. Great list of reasons why crafts are beneficial for young children! Thanks for linking up with Montessori Monday. (If you could add the Montessori Monday button or link back, that would be great!) I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

  18. We have learned so much from creating together!

  19. Wonderful post! I completely agree with "babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, oh my!" ... I'd like to post a link to this on my blog! Play and crafting are SOOO essential for kids

  20. Sure, if anyone wants to link this post on their blog, I'd be honored. Thank you so much! Isn't blogging great?!

  21. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! I came right over and followed you thru GFC. I am always in awe of women who have the ability to connect with children, especially if they are handicapped in any way. I would hope that I would be just as strong. Thanks so much for leaving such a wonderful comment. Stop by anytime and enter some of the giveaways or just to chat.


  22. Hello,
    I am a new follower through the Read, Explore, Learn linky. I can't wait to read more!

  23. Wonderful post! Kids learn so much from those hands on activities... Much more than just how to be creative, but how to reason, how things work...

  24. This is my first visit. Thanks so much for linking up to my birthday blog-hop!!!

    Looks like we're seriously on the same wavelength!!! Here's to more collaborations.

    Debbie Clement

  25. Thank you so much for joining in with the Best of 2011 blog hop. I love your post and your philosophy. My blog is all about play and kids art too. I look forward to reading more of your posts in 2012 :)

  26. I reposted!

    Thanks! Couldn't have said it any better!

  27. Powerful article, thank you!! I will look forward to reading more from your blog.

    About art and crafts: I'd like to suggest we use the word "art" to differentiate between those creative activities that have no planned outcome, and "crafts" or those that do. I think it helps parents and others understand the difference between art and crafts. I enjoy both! But they are so different.

    Keep posting important Information as you have done here today. Thank you! Together we can make a difference for children's creative lives.
    ~ MaryAnn F. Kohl
    my blog:

  28. That is a wonderful way to describe art and crafts. Thank you for the comment. I agree with you.

  29. Art is important because it belongs to all of us as an expression of our innate, human drive to find and make meaning.


  30. Wonderful Post! It is important for us to get our children involved in creative activities from an early age to develop their creative thinking and problem solving abilities.

    pre school education


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