National Craft Month: Promoting Creative Play

Glitter. Glue. Paint. These are just some of the supplies you might have in your arts and crafts arsenal at home. And what better time to break them out and get creative than during National Craft Month? That’s right! The whole month of March is dedicated to an international celebration of creativity.

No matter what kind of crafting you and your kids like to do, “getting your craft on” is more than just a lot of fun. Engaging in arts and crafts play has multiple benefits for kids and adults.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that arts and crafts play promotes creativity and imagination. Give children a blank piece of paper and some markers, and they’re off. There is no right or wrong way to create when it comes to your little Picasso’s artistic endeavors. And while they’re being creative, kids might also experiment with different ways to use the materials, which encourages the development of problem-solving skills.

Crafting tends to be more structured, which helps kids follow directions systematically—another important skill. Kids can still get creative with a craft project in how they choose to decorate or even play with the finished project. And, of course, successfully creating crafts boosts kids’ self-esteem.

The hands-on aspect of arts and crafts also develops fine motor skills, an important aspect for toddlers and preschoolers. Holding a paintbrush, scribbling with a crayon, and cutting with (kid-safe) scissors are great ways to help develop the muscles in a child’s hands and fingers, which can lead to writing success once a child begins school.

And speaking of school, engaging in arts and crafts play encourages visual-processing skills (the ability to process and interpret meaning from the visual information we gain through our eyesight). These are important skills kids will use in school when making sense of letters and numbers, and solving some math problems.

Independent arts and crafts play improves focus and memory skills, a benefit that has helped foster the current adult coloring craze. For co-play, when multiple children are sharing the supplies and talking about what they’re creating, arts and crafts play boosts social skills to enhance communication with peers and adults. For preschoolers, this play also promotes language development as kids learn and use the words for colors and shapes.

All of this can start right at home when parents get crafty with their kids. Sitting down to color, craft, and create with your child has a long-term impact on your child, plus it . And in a world where it seems every member of the family is plugged into a digital device, a little screen-free time for face-to-face family interaction goes a long way. It’s not about what you create. It’s about the memories you create in the process.

All of this can start right at home when parents get crafty with their kids. Sitting down to color, craft, and create with your child has a long-term impact on your child, plus it promotes family bonding. And in a world where it seems every member of the family is plugged into a digital device, a little screen-free time for face-to-face family interaction goes a long way. It’s not about what you create. It’s about the memories you create in the process.

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