As we hit the dog days of summer, our family ends up spending a lot more time inside, trying to escape the heat. It’s very easy for screen time to creep up when we’re home so much, so to counteract the screen sirens, I often set out big bins of crafting supplies for when boredom hits. My kids enjoy crafting – both from kits and from their own imaginations – but what they don’t realize is that they’re also strengthening important skills and learning at the same time. Learning in the summer is a win-win in any parent’s book!

How kids learn through crafting:

  1. Fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are the ability to make small movements using the muscles in your hands and wrists. Good fine motor skills are imperative in school as those small muscles allow kids to have legible handwriting, use scissors properly, perform as expected in art and more. They also help our kids with important life skills like tying shoes, brushing teeth, buttoning clothing and using utensils to eat.

Kids need to do lots of activities to strengthen those small muscles in their hands and wrists and crafting provides ample opportunities to improve fine motor skills under the guise of fun. Painting, coloring, cutting, squishing playdough, picking up small objects and squeezing a glue bottle are just some examples of crafting that involve fine motor skills.

  1. 2. Art might seem like the opposite of math, but in fact, many math concepts come into play when crafting. Sorting and counting art supplies by color or type, creating patterns in artwork, working with different geometric shapes, and measuring lengths and sizes of materials are just some of the ways math gets used when crafting.
  2. Creativity. In today’s scheduled world, kids rarely get the chance to let loose and dream. Crafting allows them to bring to life whatever they see in their imaginations. And, just like any other skill, practice makes better. The more your child taps into his or her imagination, the easier it becomes to do so. Fluid, creative thinking is great for problem-solving, which is a skill that translates extremely well to the real world.
  3. Soft skills. Soft skills involve things like communication, collaboration, problem-solving and resilience. Crafting is a great small group activity – playdates with friends or siblings count! I love seeing my kids team up to make an art project together or even helping each other with tips and ideas. Working with the same materials requires kids to practice communication, sharing, collaboration and more. Teachers will thank you for helping your child to develop his or her soft skills as they make the classroom run more smoothly.
  4. Self-regulation. Self-regulation is the act of understanding and managing your own behavior and reactions. Being able to understand and regulate behavior allows your child to control impulses, sit attentively in class, behave in prosocial ways with friends and others and manage emotions. Crafting and creating art can put the maker into a state of calm, much like meditation, allowing the body and mind to relax. When that happens, through repetition, the brain can create neural pathways allowing for quicker achievement of this state of calm.

Also, taking the time to slow down and disconnect from screens and the fast pace of life allows kids to tune into their inner thoughts and feelings. Crafting and art offer a fabulous way to explore and express those feelings, which is another way to help self-regulate and self-soothe.

  1. Focus and concentration. Completing a craft project from start to finish requires focus and concentration. Kids have to tune out distractions so they can pay attention to cutting, selecting beads or whatever action is necessary for their task. Being able to focus is a skill that takes practice, and crafting provides a fun opportunity to work on that skill. If your child selects a craft with specific instructions, he or she will need to pay attention and work methodically to complete the craft correctly. Being able to focus and concentrate are skills that will pay off for your child in the classroom, in extracurriculars and in life in general.

This summer when the kids are turning into screen zombies and you all need a little Zen break, give crafting a try. Your kids will have fun and (sneakily) strengthen a number of important skills.

Alison Bogle is a writer living in Austin with her husband and three children. A former fourth grade teacher, she now enjoys writing about children and education. You can also catch her talking about articles from Austin Family magazine each Thursday morning on FOX 7 Austin.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Austin Family Magazine

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this with your friends!