The sun sets at 4pm and the world is suddenly dark. The wind howls and the rain comes down in persistent waves. It’s winter and you certainly aren’t taking your child to the park to play after school! No, it’s time to cozy up in your living room… To enjoy the flickering light of a fire, and sip on hot cocoa full of way too many mini marshmallows. These long winter evenings warmly ensconced inside are the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with your child. And what better way to spend that time than by making something wonderful, creative, and totally unique?
Crafting with your child is truly a quality way to spend your time together. There are so many benefits of teaching your child to make something with their own two hands, not least of which are the precious memories you will make along the way.
First and foremost of these benefits is fostering creativity. There is more and more research being done that shows creativity is key to a child’s positive development and future success. Creativity is the ability to think original thoughts, and then tie those thoughts together in new and unexpected ways. Creativity is the root of being able to problem solve, so it is no wonder that children who learn to express their creativity at a young age have been shown to experience more success later on in life.
“Research indicates that a child who is exposed to the arts acquires a special ability to think creatively, be original, discover, innovate, and create intellectual property—key attributes for individual success and social prosperity in the twenty-first century.”
— The International Child Art Foundation
There are many ways to engage a child in creativity, but crafting is of particular benefit to children because it has the ability to engage all of the senses. Smelling new smells, seeing new color combinations, feeling new textures, hearing new words, and tasting new flavours… All of these novel experiences contribute to a child’s growth, as synaptic connections are created and strengthened in their brains.
“By encouraging creativity and imagination, we are promoting children’s ability to explore and comprehend their world and increasing their opportunities to make new connections and reach new understandings.”
— Bernadette Duffy, (2006), Supporting Creativity and Imagination in the Early Years, Oxford University Press
Additionally, crafting is the perfect way to help your child develop their fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are acquired when a child learns how to manipulate their small muscles, like the muscles in their hands, fingers, and wrists. These skills are essential to a child learning how to do such fundamental things as write, tie their own shoelaces, and eat with a fork and knife. Gluing, cutting, drawing… All these activities integral to crafting serve as practice for the basic coordination skills children need to learn as part of their development.
“Hands-on arts and crafts accelerate the development of muscles in the hands and fingers, improving fine motor skills essential for school success in the earliest formal years.”
— Richard Rende, Ph.D., developmental psychologist, researcher, educator and author
So this holiday season, give your child the gift of creativity. Craft with them! Explore with them. Help them discover the power and the wonder of their own brains.
Ready to get crafting? Here are five of our favourite fun and easy winter themed crafts to try with your little one:
1. Paper Plate Yarn Snowflakes — Transform plain paper plates into beautiful snowflakes. Can’t find snowflake patterned paper plates at the store? Use blank ones instead, and get your child to draw their own original snowflake patterns. Brought to you by heartcraftythings.
2. Puffy Paint Snowman — These little snowmen are as cute as they are fun to make. Mixing your own "puffy paint" is super easy; only two ingredients needed. Visit alittledelightful to find how.
3. Sugar Painting — Who knew you could paint with sugar? Create sparkly snowflakes and snow scenes with liquid sugar for a fantastic frosty effect. You can find the recipe for this unique craft on the kidscraftroom.
4. Melting Snowmen — If you like mixing a little science in with your crafts, this nifty project is the one for you. All you need are some biodegradable packing peanuts and a couple markers. Brought to you by theresjustonemommy.com.
5. Felt Snowman — Rain or shine, with this felt version of Frosty, your child will be making snowmen all winter long. This giant snowman is easy to make and easily customized. Visit lifewithmylittles to find out how.
So go ahead! While away those long winter evenings bonding with your child over glitter and glue. The results will be almost as magical as the memories you make along the way.