Have you ever scrolled through social media posts, looked at all the amazing crafting projects teachers and parents do with preschoolers, and thought to yourself, “How are they getting these kids to sit still to do these crafts? How do you even introduce crafting to preschoolers? Where do I start?”.
If you want to introduce crafts to your preschooler, but you are not sure how to go about doing it, this article is for you.
This article will also be helpful to those who have tried arts and crafts projects with their little ones and did not have success getting them or keeping them, interested.
In this post, we’re going to go over the benefits of crafts for preschoolers, and what skills crafting helps children develop, and you’ll get 10 awesome tips on how to introduce crafting to preschoolers.
Why is crafting important for preschoolers?
Making crafts can be so much fun for kids. Piecing bits of construction paper and pipe cleaners together and sticking them on paper plates is extremely satisfying for preschool-age children.
It’s not just fun, though. Arts and crafts projects come with many amazing developmental benefits, believe it or not.
Ways in which crafts help a child’s development
Crafting benefits a child’s development by helping to build a variety of crucial skills, including “soft skills”, like emotional intelligence and self-esteem.
Occupational therapists and other health professionals actually use crafting as a way to help children to process difficult emotions, while simultaneously building important physical and mental skills.
Crafting is also a great way for caregivers and children to bond. It also promotes open communication and rich language development through conversation and exploration of new materials and concepts.
List of skills and crafts helps develop
Apart from emotional development and bonding, there are a lot of very important skills that are promoted through crafting projects.
Here is a list of skills that your child will be developing while they craft.
- Fine motor skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Hand-eye coordination
- Bilateral coordination
- Language development
- Literacy (storytelling)
Wow – that’s quite a list of benefits. It’s no wonder preschoolers come home with craft projects all the time.
Crafts are great for developing brains.
Now that we know why we should be doing crafts with our preschoolers, let’s get into how to introduce all of these wonderful crafting projects.
10 Tips to help introduce crafting to preschoolers
1. Follow their interests
Have you ever tried to teach your child something they are not interested in learning? Their eyes wander around the room and they have trouble staying around for the lesson.
Arts and crafts projects work the same way. A preschooler who loves sharks is much more likely to sit still and engage with a shark craft than with a pig craft. (Just an example)
So, base the crafting project on the child’s current interest.
2. Start with an easy craft
There’s nothing more frustrating than being asked to do something that you don’t have the capability or the confidence to do. So, be careful not to set the skill level too high for your preschooler when introducing a crafting activity.
Easy crafts can be things like paper plate crafts, whereas a craft that requires a higher skill level would be a 3D craft wherein more advanced problem-solving and fine motor skills are needed.
3. Make a sensory experience
Children enjoy sensory exploration. An engaging craft is one that gives preschoolers the opportunity to explore many different tactile sensations.
A mix of buttons felt strips, construction paper, foam, and even doilies can provide a more enriching sensorial experience than construction paper alone.
4. Keep it novel
Preschoolers are not so different from adults when it comes to enjoying novel experiences.
If you want your preschooler to sit and see a craft through from start to finish, you need to bring some novelty to the table. Here are some ways to get a child interested:
- Try out different art supplies, like dot markers or finger paints.
- Bring nature into the craft project, by gathering sticks or leaves to use.
- Incorporate items the child may not otherwise be allowed to use.
5. Get the timing right
It’s a fact that young children have trouble sitting still – it’s completely natural and developmentally appropriate.
So, your timing needs to be just right when you introduce crafting to preschoolers. Here are some tips:
- Introduce the craft after a period of no screen time. (Certain types of TV shows can temporarily impair executive function in children, making crafting more difficult.)
- Make sure your preschoolers have eaten and pottied prior to starting the craft.
- The child should not be overly tired or in an unhappy state of mind.
6. Make sure the wiggles are out
We can’t mention timing without talking about how important it is for children to “get the wiggles out” prior to starting an arts and crafts project.
Crafting involves very little gross motor movement. So, it’s a great idea to get outside and run around for a little while before sitting down with your child to craft.
7. Limit screen time
I mentioned earlier about limiting screen time immediately prior to crafting, but it’s also just a good idea in general if you find that your child is asking to watch TV instead of working on a craft with you.
Even interactive screen time is more passive (easier) than a crafting project. When given the choice between the two, many children will choose screen time.
If your TV time is planned for a certain time of day, your child will know that it’s not an option outside of that time and they will be more likely to engage with other activities.
8. Come prepared
There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting down to work on a project but not having everything you need. Children feel this frustration, too.
If you’re leaving the crafting table to find supplies, you are running the risk of your preschooler getting bored and losing interest in the project.
It’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got everything you’ll need to complete the arts and crafts project from start to finish.
If you are not a naturally crafty person yourself, it may also be a good idea to do the craft on your own ahead of time just to increase your confidence.
9. Sit or stand on the child’s dominant side
This is an arts and crafts tip that is often overlooked by many parents and even preschool teachers.
When you stand on your child’s dominant side, they are more easily able to see your movements and copy them.
For example, if your child is right-handed, you should present the crafting activity from their right side. This can cut down on frustration and help keep the child engaged and excited about the craft.
10. Focus on the process, not the finished product
Many caregivers love crafting with their preschoolers because the finished products are so adorable.
It’s important, though, to leave space for creativity – and to remember that there is no “wrong” way to make art.
If your preschooler glues a googly eye to the chin on the face of his craft, the best thing to do is avoid correcting him. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all, and he may not see this as an error.
Here is an example of how to respond when your preschooler makes a “mistake” on their craft:
“Oh, that looks really great! Can you tell me about what you made?”
There you have it – 10 great tips for introducing crafts to preschoolers.
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Now it’s your turn!
How do you introduce crafting to your preschooler? Did our tips help you out?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.
I would love to hear from you!