Creativity with Crafts
Although the product may not be important when the child is involved in an art activity, the exact opposite is true about crafts. Young children love the idea of bringing home a present for their family or making a holiday decoration. Making crafts also can be a wonderful way to teach about the children's own heritage and about other cultures.
Regardless, any craft project can be counterproductive if it is a teacher, rather than a child, activity. No matter how beautiful a product is, it loses some of its value if the teacher has done the bulk of the work.
Here are some guidelines for selecting crafts for 3- and 4-year-olds:
- Select a craft in which the child can do most of the work.
- Choose something that will not be too long or tedious. With few exceptions, it is best to select a craft that can be completed in one sitting.
- Make sure that the craft has meaning for the children. Crafts are most apt to have meaning when they are tied in to a unit of study or associated with a real-life experience.
- Make sure that the craft is not too elaborate or fragile. Children like the idea of taking something home and get frustrated and unhappy if the craft falls apart before it gets there.
- Choose a craft that the children will enjoy doing.
- Choose a craft that allows some leeway for individual ideas.
Activities for Making Crafts
Many good books are on the market that contain ideas and instructions for making interesting objects from throw-away materials. Here are just a few examples:
Egg Carton Garden
Materials: Styrofoam egg cartons, soil, seeds.
Procedure: Punch a hole in the bottom of each small section. Remove the lid and use it as a tray for the "garden." Fill the sections with dirt, and plant a seed in each one.
Fish in the Aquarium
Materials: Styrofoam tray, construction paper, sand, shells, plastic wrap, yarn, Goldfish crackers or cutouts.
Procedure: Have the children glue on the elements of an aquarium scene to the tray and then cover it with plastic wrap.
Paper Plate Faces
Materials: Paper plates, construction paper, glue, yarn (or fabric scraps, buttons, bottle caps, etc.).
Procedure: Have the children glue materials on the plates to create faces. For older children, punch holes around the edge of the plate and thread yarn through for hair.
© ______ 2006, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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