Children love to experience the joy of making something that did not exist before they put their hands on it. Quite typically after creating their object of beauty they will turn around and give it away immediately to their teacher, parent or friend. Children instinctively know that the best gifts come from their hearts, and they put their hearts in every craft, a product of their creative minds and hands.
Playing is a child’s job, and creativity begins with a playful mindset. Teachers and parents only need to provide few materials and be careful not to do anything to discourage creativity. Some basic examples of craft products everyone should have are crayons, markers, paints, colored paper, clay-like products, scissors and glue. Over time some other products can be added to one’s crafting collection like feathers, wiggly eyes, pom poms, beads, yarn and other fiber products, stickers, glitter, pipe cleaners, craft foam sheets and cutouts.
Craft supplies do not need to be restricted to things you buy at the craft store. Think toothpicks, cotton swabs, aluminum foil, new coffee filter papers, paper plates, styrofoam cups, tissues, and gift wrap. Go outdoors and gather leaves, pretty rocks, flowers, seashells, or seed pods. Crafting for kids is also great opportunity to recycle in the home. Think paper towel tubes, baby food jars, metal cans, cereal and cracker boxes, plastic soda bottles, and newspapers. Even junk mail can sometimes yield free stickers or other interesting items. Clothing that is too worn out to give to the local charity can be harvested for buttons, appliques, and cut up for fabric pieces.
Creative crafting can go to the kitchen, too. Remember gingerbread men and gingerbread houses? You can start there, but let your imagination stretch to new culinary horizons. Start with a new “artist’s canvas” like giant sugar cookies, pancakes, toasted bread, or even a bowl of oatmeal. For your “artist’s palette” give your child a choice of nuts, peanuts, cereal pieces, raisins, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, or chopped apple. Occasionally include a few treats like candy sprinkles, chocolate chips, icing in tubes, cinnamon sugar, and small candies such as gummies or candy-coated chocolates. Now that you have the materials, assemble animals, draw a face, write a name, or just allow the child to create whatever masterpiece comes to mind. Of course, you are not restricted to sweet treats in the kitchen. You can do the same kind of thing with pizza and pizza-type ingredients, for instance.
Some children are absolutely creative wizards. Show them a few supplies, and in moments they are in their element. Others may sometimes need a few ideas to get them rolling. You can start with a ready-made craft kit or an idea from a children’s magazine or website. If the end result does not look like the picture, that is fine. Think of the picture as a suggestion only. For creativity’s sake, abandoning the picture is probably a good thing. Sometimes the parent can help get things moving with a few ideas to prime creative juices. For example, start with the child’s handprint. Lay the child’s hand on a sheet of paper, spread their fingers, and trace around the entire hand. See how many different things you and the child can make from this beginning. Add embellishments to make a turkey, a face with kinky hair with fingers up, or a face with a beard with fingers down. Make animals, flowers, aliens, or monsters. Next time, begin with a footprint.
Encourage your child in their creative craftings. Many educational experts have affirmed that creative outlets are great for a child’s cognitive development and more. However supported some things are by research, numbers or study, we still know certain things as a matter of experience. Children love to be creative. Here is a quote by Dieter F Uchtdorf: “The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.”