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Choosing the right crafts for your kids can make or break them

Faige Kobre

The concept that kids crafts is, or should be beneficial for children is not a new one. Traditional educators have long touted the direction following and fine motor development skills that arts and crafts gives to children.

When kids are doing activites that are boring however, like copycat arts and crafts, the direction following is almost rote and therefor, useless. As a matter of fact, crafts like this does great damage to children’s self esteem and other skills.

Many of us already know why we as parents and educators like to give children arts and crafts.
Working on projects together is a great way to bond with our children.
It gives the children an outlet for their creativity.
It keeps them busy.
It gives teachers a way to have children remember things they learned.
It brings out the special sweetness of each holiday.

Let me present you with another method of crafts that is on a much higher level. It is a method of doing arts and crafts with children that raises their confidence and self-esteem, gives them thinking and problem solving skills and skyrockets their creativity. I call this, Educational arts and crafts.
There are a few very basic underlying concepts about educational arts and crafts. All adults working with children should be aware of what children are capable of at various ages and levels.

As a result kids cannot be judged the old fashioned adult parameters. As real educators know the difference in the developmental levels of kids, they don't expect them to perform at levels that don't match where they are. Not only is giving children adults models to copy not good for them, but it can acutally be detrimental in many ways.

Good arts and crafts project should therefor, address the following points.
1.Self esteem is a definite by product of what the projects should be helping children develop.
2.There are many problems that crop up when doing crafts that children can try solving on their own.
3.    Choices should be available which leads to initiative taking.
4.    Freedom to decide HOW to decorate helps develop a sense of autonomy and independence.
5.    Creativity skyrockets when children decide what to create.

In Educational Arts and Crafts the children incorporate all of the above skills while traditional, copycat, arts and undermines the same. Factual information is not what is being learned when children are doing educational crafts. It means that they are receiving skills of tremendous educational benefit.

Children who do lots of copying adults crafts, end up feeling poorly about themselves and even more about their artistic abilities. They are usually the children who grow into the adults who feel “they cannot draw a straight line”. They feel that there is no faith in them from the adults to make art on their own.

So indepence and confidence gets whittled down which is what happens when dependence is only on adults.This all starts in the beiginning when giviing toddler crafts to young ones and continues on into the later years.Educational art is so full of win-win, valuable benefits for children and we discuss some of them below. Children feel great about themselves as they get to create their own projects. Both parents and children are satisfied with the finished craft. Kids get to have their creativity bolstered. Thinking, problem solving skills and initiative are used. Self-esteem and initiative are encouraged which spills over into other areas. So why not get started in giving the children crafts that they do on their own, that are educational and stop giving your kids crafts that copy other adults work.

Posted on Jan 29, 2013

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