There’s nothing more divine than being gifted with our child’s newly finished craftwork. It could be a magic wand made of straws and curling ribbons, or a family picture etched on a layer of crayon colors. It could be a simple food jar filled with paint and confetti that appears to be a fish bowl, or a more complicated talking mouth pop-up card. Sometimes these crafts make it to our living room’s console table alongside our family pictures, more often it does not – it is stored among our precious memorabilia of their childhood days.
This summer, take out that kids apron once again and introduce your child to more craft hobbies to pass his time away. There are a lot to choose from –paper crafts, beading and jewelry making, science nature crafts, musical instruments, fabric thread needle crafts, and so many others.
Crafts let children express their creativity, and in the process, build their self-esteem. It develops the way they listen and follow instructions, and enhances their capability to ponder on and solve problems relating to these small projects. Craft-making also creates relationships as they work together on shared projects, making it more fun for them. It allows them to develop their sensitivity and thoughtfulness as they make gifts for their loved ones.
Having said all that, it is quite important that you, as guide, would be able to effectively instill all these learning to your little student. There are a number of ways to do that:
Remember that it is the process, not the product, which is central to craft-making. The entire journey is as important as the destination. You have to understand that it is the child’s exploration, discoveries and experimentation that matters in this learning process. They are sometimes intimidated when they see the “perfect” way to do a craft, thinking that they cannot do it the right way, so they need to be constantly encouraged for them to be able to freely express themselves.
So that they would not fully realize the imperfection of their work, limit the number of times you show a finished product. Just show them how it should look like then put it away. This would compel them to follow the step by step instructions, with you guiding them, thus enabling them to develop their skills in listening and following instructions. Just make sure that the directions you give are laid out in a clear, concise manner.
In choosing a craft project, make sure it is appropriate to your kids’ ages. Our purpose in developing a craft hobby is for the child to take pride in his own craftsmanship. But if the craft is way above the child’s level, we, as teachers are forced to help, and the child would not be able to take credit for what is supposed to be his accomplishment. Make sure you have enough extra materials handy just in case someone needs to start over. Scissors should be able to cut well, and have blunt ends. Your glues, paints and other materials should all be non-toxic. Don’t forget the kids’ aprons to shield them from the mess.
Remember to avoid taking over, as this is sometimes the easier way out in times of difficulty. Once again, bear in mind that the success of a craft project is not the finished masterpiece, but the child’s learning experience and sense of accomplishment.