Crafts Equal Creativity for Children at Christmas

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The holiday season has arrived. Holiday parties, shopping, decorating, and more fill our schedules this time of year. All of these things are great fun, but it is important to remember not to miss the opportunity to enjoy some quality time with your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, and others. There are many fun activities you can do with children and youth this time of year. One great way to enjoy time with youth is crafting. It helps them grow and develop at the same time having fun.

Making crafts with children can be done throughout the year. In the holiday season, there are especially many great crafts ideas. Crafting has been shown to stimulate learning, reinforce a concept or skill, generate excitement, and entertain. It may be a group project or an individual activity. The finished “craft” is a memento of the experience shared with family and friends.

Crafts are a valuable way to allow children to express their creativity. Be sure to give children the opportunity to discover new things while crafting. Letting children be a part of the planning and development process for the craft will enhance children’s ability to think and solve problems. Children can strengthen their listening and direction following skills through having to complete step by step process. Once the craft is completed, you can help children consider others by thinking of a friend or family member they can give their craft to as a gift.

crafts

T-shirt crafts made by Caldwell County 4-H participants.

Crafting is more about the process than the end product. You and your child may follow all the steps for a craft, and it may not turn out like you expected. This is perfectly fine because exploration and experimentation are crucial parts of being a lifelong learner. Children need opportunities to express themselves freely as they learn skills and apply information. When leading children, be careful not to inhibit creativity. Teaching skills like how to hold, care for, or achieve a specific stroke or effect with a paintbrush are necessary along with encouraging creativity. Being a crafter is developing the necessary knowledge and skill then applying them to produce a unique finished product. When teaching a craft it is recommended to show the finished project to the group/ individual then put the sample away. Having an example on display while children are working can cause them to give up or compare their work. This comparison may lead to discouragement and disappointment. Demonstrating a challenging or complicated step in the process can help children to comprehend how to complete it. Remember, the key to making a craft is the process, not the product. If possible, avoid pre-cutting/ preparing or completing steps in advance. It may save time, but takes away from the total experience and lessens the knowledge and skill being learned. Be sure to remember to be creative and have fun.

Crafting is incorporated in many 4-H activities. We have seen the joy kids get from creating their own unique creation. Crafts help reinforce the knowledge and skills we strive to help youth develop. To learn more about opportunities for youth through Caldwell County 4-H has to offer, please contact me at charlie_godfrey@ncsu.edu or 828-757-1257.

Written By

Photo of Charlie Godfrey, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionCharlie GodfreyExtension Agent, 4-H Youth Development (704) 482-4365 (Office) jcgodfre@ncsu.eduCleveland County, North Carolina
Posted on Dec 6, 2017
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