The Benefits of Arts & Crafts
Author: Stef Daniel
For your toddler, the ability to create and imagine comes naturally. Few toddlers are inhibited by rules of color and size and few are concerned with the reality of a situation when they are being artistic. For a toddler, arts and crafts can be something as simple as using crayons and paper to something as complicated as pastel painting or quilting. The truth is that there are few limits to what your toddler can create when given the tools and imaginative freedom to spark their innermost artist.
Toddlers love to get their hands in things. They learn by using all of their senses and being able to finger paint, use play-doh, draw in shaving cream, or 'paint' music opens up their minds and enables them to fine tune motor skills, as well as cognizant learning aspects. Arts and crafts teach toddlers in an indirect manner, the truths of cause and effect, and allow them to always find the right solution. When it comes to art - there are no mistakes.
To a toddler, there is nothing that doesn't seem art worthy. They are happy to make faces out of their cheerios, get their hands dirty, and create sculptures in the mud or draw with their Popsicle on the kitchen table. This is a great approach to take for toddlers. Anything that they feel they can use to make art or put together a craft should be allowed in order to not inhibit their creative freedom. Give them some glue and they will be able to make a mural worthy of hanging on the mantelpiece in no time.
Just about every worthy pre-school curriculum entails doing some sort of art and craft activity daily. Toddlers are much more adept than we give them credit for and can manipulate things like scissors, knitting needles, hooks and latches, markers, paint brushes, modeling clay, and a plethora of other materials in order to create art. For those children that stay at home, organizing an artistic outlet each day is a great way to break monotony and allow them to use their inherent curiosity to make something with their own hands. It may not seem like art to you - but allowing a toddler to play with chocolate pudding on a linoleum floor is an incredibly fun way to allow them to experiment with art.
Arts and crafts are also notoriously used in efforts to support letter and number recognition in toddlers, and are a great way to support academic lessons. When a toddler is being artistic they are often having so much fun that they do not even realize they are learning. Additionally, arts and craft projects help toddlers build confidence, and as they see their parents hang up and brag about their newest creation, they are filled with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.
Arts and crafts can be done on the road, on vacation, outdoors, and in virtually every environment your toddler will visit. Increasing your child's exposure to creative endeavors can help to raise your child's IQ and develop many of the fundamental tools they will need to be successful in school!