Tis' the season for crafts! I realize some early childhood "experts" look down on crafts and think only open ended art activities should be used. It’s not an “either-or,” but a “both-and”...IT'S ALL GOOD!Here’s a metaphor to explain my point. Sometimes I cook and I just throw stuff in the pot and taste it as I go along. Sometimes I bake and carefully follow the recipe. Open-ended art is like cooking and crafts are like baking. Children need both and should have ample opportunities to create and build. Here are some specific benefits from doing crafts:
1st Children like them. Why do you think all those rainbow looms were so successful a few years ago? Children have a sense of accomplishment when they do a craft.
2nd Children learn to follow directions and do things in a sequential order.
3rd Task initiation and task completion (important characteristics of the executive function) are nurtured with crafts.
4th Crafts provide children with the opportunity to plan and problem solve.
5th Crafts can be integrated with content areas and units of study.
6th Crafts can develop small motor skills, social skills, and independence.
In my opinion, most activities where children do things with their hands and where they interact socially is wonderful! TURN IT OFF and let's just get messy and have some FUN!!!
Come back tomorrow for some center ideas that are "crafty" and open-ended.