When I began working in my craft business I always loved (and still do) watching the children’s faces as they stood proudly with their finished products.
But I soon realised that the end result was only one part of the story. What they were learning though the process of creating the craft was just as rewarding.
What children can learn and the skills they are developing through play is a crucial part of the early childhood learning. Play = learning. Through their natural curiosity, imagination, investigation and purely the courage of giving it a go, children are gaining valuable life skills.
Take 2D foam craft as an example, it looks as though we are only putting layer and layers of foam stickers on a board to make the finished picture. This children’s craft is more challenging than we think, there are lots of skills involved in making the finished product:
Cognitive / Thinking Skill – Children need to first evaluate and decide which shape goes where and which shape need to go first – children are problem solving and using their trial and error skilsl as they work through the picture.
Coordinating Skill – Children are developing fine motor skill, as they take the backing off each sticker shape and then place it onto the board.
Social / Relating Skill – Children can work alongside others such as friends or a parent. They are developing communication skills – talking about what they are doing, watching others to see what they do, taking turns and sharing the foam stickers .
The process also builds confidence – as the picture comes together and they will sense their achievements and teamwork. A child once said to me at the workshop – “this craft is challenging but rewarding at the same time”
Essentially children are learning life skills, through hands on experiences – by doing, watching others and experimenting. The great thing about children’s craft is it has broad appeal and it helps children develop independence, confidence and the different skills they need to develop.
On the flip side parents also learn about their children through play, as it provides great insight into their personalities, strengths, interests and social skills. As you watch your children grow through play you see their art work evolve from a scribble to a face with arms and legs or in the case of foam art it starts with stickers covering the board in random locations, to a perfect replication of the design completed independently.
So the next time you see your kids playing take a moment to enjoy the process as they learn, grow and have fun.