After music and reading, my next favorite school activity was art. Sometimes we made paper crafts, sometimes we made clay sculptures, and other times we made fun items out of cardboard, yarn, fabric, and Styrofoam. Seasonal crafts and holiday crafts were always special, and anything to do with drawing and painting were tops with all of us children. We didn't know it then, but arts and crafts sessions were providing us with important life skills.
The first most important advantage of arts and crafts is developing fine motor skills followed by learning and working with shapes, colors, and pattern recognition. Preschoolers use crayons, markers, scissors, and glue sticks to get ready for writing. School age children begin to learn how to take their time, follow directions, and develop critical thinking skills and resilience (some things don't turn out the way you want so you try again). Older children learn patience and enjoy the creative process which increases self-esteem. Making art or a craft is also the opportunity to make and correct a mistake – a valuable life skill.
Arts and crafts supplies need not be expensive. Some of the best ideas are those using everyday things around the house (like old catalogs and magazines, cereal boxes, and shoe boxes) and found items in nature.
If you are looking for inspiration for yourself or for a child, we have you covered! There are craft and art books: books that emphasize crafting using everything from paper to felt as well as traditional handiwork like knitting and sewing. Check out the ideas from any of our many arts and craft books for inspiration!