Toddlers love to get creative and there’s no better way of filling up a rainy afternoon with a craft project on the kitchen table. Splashing around in paint , cutting out, glueing collages and spraying glitter around the place is really the best fun you can have with your little ones. But not only is crafting with your kids good fun, there are added benefits parents should appreciate. As a parent, sometimes it is difficult finding ways to connect with your child in a way that combines learning AND fun. Well, by starting your toddler off young with varied and regular crafting projects, you can be guaranteed enriching times for both of you with fun and learning both at the top of the agenda.
Having trouble getting your kids to do their buttons up or buckle their shoes? Well try focusing a little on their bi-lateral coordination.
Bi-lateral coordination is required for colouring, drawing and cutting out as it is when they use both of their hands together. As they mature, this type of coordination becomes increasingly important in areas such as writing, typing and tying their shoe laces. The more of this type of crafty activity you can get them to do, the more it will pay dividends as they grow up.
Cutting it Fine
Fine motor skills can be sharpened up with targeted craft tasks. Drawing out shapes, cutting patterns, painting in details and handwriting all involve fine motor coordination for a successful outcome. A great project for toddlers at this level of development is to make greeting cards or party invitations. Order up card making supplies for all the various bits and pieces you need and set about a project that will both challenge and excite them. Allow them to choose fun stickers and decorations from the card making supplies company, so that when the project is completed they will be proud and feel some ownership over their designs.
Crafting can help children to learn about things like self-regulation. Controlling their impulses and emotions can be tough sometimes, and involvement in a craft project that has a focus to it can be a bit of a challenge. Waiting for paint or glues to dry, for example, can be hard for toddlers who don’t like to wait for anything! If plans or designs don’t work out and the project doesn’t please them, it allows them to experience disappointment in a measured way and also entertains the idea of flexibility. Learning that everything is not always perfect is a lesson we must all take on board at some stage. Patience, self control and flexibility are all powerful life skills and learning them through a creative art project is one of the gentler introductions.
Children that lack confidence can gain real self-esteem boosts from craft projects. It is important to choose designs that are at the appropriate skill level for your toddler. Matching the project to your child’s ability avoids disappointments and damage to self esteem. Of course, we want to give them a challenge, but it defeats the object if they are left feeling deflated. When a craft is completed with great success, feelings of pride and accomplishment will be evident, and you’ll know you’ve chosen the right project. Kicking off with crafting at an early age means there will be many projects for you to share together. As your child develops, more challenges and levels of difficulty can be thrown into the mix which is good to keep things fresh and moving forward.
Bonding over a caterpillar made from a toilet roll or a personalised birthday card for Granny is something really precious that crafting together can give you. The quiet times spent working out designs, cutting out, colouring, painting, decorating – all the time chatting away to each other – are golden moments to be cherished. At the root of bonding with your child is a shared, joyful experience, and if you can achieve that with crafting projects, your work as a parent is going well!
Let’s hope you are now persuaded to dig out the safety scissors, PVA glue, glitter, crepe paper and card making supplies, and launch into a mission of discovery with your toddler. Exploring the creative world (and beyond) from the safety of the kitchen table will widen horizons for your child on many levels. Happy crafting!