Go Daft for Craft
Engaging, educational and enjoyable; it’s no wonder crafting is such big business! Favoured by the very young and the very old, it’s often a wonderfully calming activity that encourages a freedom of expression, developing imagination and fine motor skills.
To celebrate and promote crafts across the UK, a Craft and Design Month will take place during May. There will be something to suit boys and girls of all age groups and a National Ceramics Week will feature at the beginning of the month. To discover more take a look at www.craftanddesignmonth.net
The benefits of creative activities to children –
Aside from being fun and enjoyable there are many benefits to crafting...
Children are able to freely express their artistic ability through painting. Aside from cultivating the creative thought process they also learn to assess dimensions, scope and size, which tests their analytical thinking skills. Besides, splashing, slopping and sponging acrylics across an empty page is such great fun, although a little messy!
Crazy for... Ceramics
‘Throwing a pot’ on a potter’s wheel is a fun, noisy and messy activity that is perhaps more challenging than it first appears. Whilst in comparison, painting pottery is often wonderfully calming and relaxing as children are able to become totally absorbed in the decoration of their work and use plenty of creative concentration.
Crazy for... Baking
It’s good for a child to explore different tastes and ingredients at a young age and an easy way to encourage this is by asking a child to help with simple meal preparations. As they grow older, you may wish to introduce more complex recipes and offer more of a supporting role in the kitchen.
Crazy for... Bathroom Goodies
Recently there has been heightened interest in creating hand-made body care products such as bath salts, fragrances and lip balms. Many crafting businesses are diversifying into this area and are now offering ‘pamper style parties’.
Crazy for...Making Jewellery
The most beautiful original items of jewellery can be created by children. To encourage this creative process many specialist craft shops sell an enormous variety of beads in different shapes, sizes and colours along with the necklace string on which to feed the beads, so a treasured bespoke keepsake can be created in no time at all.
Sewing, knitting and working with fabric poses a variety of fresh, enjoyable challenges. Older primary school aged children will take pleasure in the fun they can have with fashion - from customising t-shirts, to knitting a scarf, to stitching on buttons and beads to a hat to personalising a favourite bag with decorative items. Plenty of simple sewing kits and cross-stitch patterns offer a good introduction to the basic principles of sewing.
Get creative in the kitchen
It’s good for a child to explore different tastes and ingredients at a young age and an easy way to encourage this is by asking a child to help with simple meal preparations. Begin by choosing an easy recipe for a dish your child will enjoy eating.
Then, get the children involved buying ingredients at the shops – get them to make sure they have everything they need before they start. Next, make your kitchen child friendly. Use solid chairs or stools to help small children reach clear work surfaces. And remember, children need more space than adults.
Fiona Bird, a past Masterchef finalist and mother of six explains that children can have fun cooking from scratch and will learn important life skills. On her website www.stirrinstuff.org, she describes that by following easy to follow recipe directions a child’s reading skills will be enhanced, as will their mathematic ability as they learn how to weigh, measure and follow the numerical sequence of the recipe procedure.
Basic science is also brought in - such as how water turns to steam when boiled, and how all five senses, especially taste, are tested when cooking. And of course there is the added bonus of working as part of a small group and the chance to get creative.
Get handy with a needle and thread
Many older primary school aged children are able to handle the more intricate handiwork needed for sewing and knitting. Many cross-stitch patterns are suitable for children to use, are easy to follow and introduce children to the basic principles of sewing.
All inclusive kits provide the correct amount of fabric and thread that is needed to create an item, yet give a child the chance to add those all important personal finishing touches such as decorative gems and sequins.
Other material-related gift ideas include: buying a plain t-shirt and customising it, decorating a plain canvas shopping bag using fabric paint, pens, glitter and sequins; making a fun sock puppet using googly eyes and felt, and if a child is able to, knitting a scarf or shawl.
Get messy with clay
It’s amazing to discover what can be created from what may originally seem like an uninspiring lump of clay. ‘Throwing a pot’ on a potter’s wheel is a fun, noisy and messy activity that is perhaps more challenging than it first appears.
Once the basic shape has been moulded, and when the clay has dried a little, children are then able to sculpt and paint the piece of pottery. This is often a wonderfully calming and relaxing time as children become totally absorbed in the decoration of their work and use plenty of creative concentration.
Over 18 million copies of Primary Times magazines are distributed every year through primary schools in 59 regions across the UK and Ireland.