If you hear the words arts and crafts, and shudder, you aren’t alone. Many a mother cowers in horror when imagining letting their little darlings loose with glue, construction paper, markers, popsicle sticks, scissors, and (gasp) glitter. Well, we’re here to ease your fears. Although craft time can be a bit messy, it is extremely beneficial for your child’s brain; especially for their cognitive development. Curious as to how covering themselves in paste helps your child learn? Read on.
First off, we need to mention Richard Rende, Ph.D. Haven’t heard of him? He is a developmental psychologist whose main area of study is the link between parenting practices, family interaction, and emotional behavioral development. According to Rende, children benefit greatly from arts and crafts time especially when it is with their parents.
Today we’ll look at just some of the benefits of encouraging cognitive development through arts and crafts.
When your child is doing arts and crafts with you they are engaging their brains in many different areas at one time, improving their ability to use bilateral coordination. What is that, you ask? Bilateral coordination is when your child is able to use both sides of their bodies at the same time in a controlled and organized manner. When your child is doing an exercise such as touching their left hand to their right foot, that is bilateral coordination. Why is this important? If your child can easily use bilateral coordination without much trouble that means that both sides of his brain are working in harmony, communicating and sharing information.
Visual Processing Skills
While crafting with you, your child will also hone in their visual processing skills by manipulating different materials. This set of skills includes recognizing patterns, the ability to sequence, and being able to use spatial rotation (the ability to rotate images in one’s mind) such as when you need to figure out how to rotate a puzzle piece so that it will fit. These skills are necessary in not only math, but in reading as well.
Is craft time stressful? Does your child grab the scissors and glue and start cutting and pasting like a madman? Believe it or not, this is a good thing. When you encourage your children to use their materials more independently you are helping them develop executive functioning skills. Executive function is used to describe the processes that your child’s mind goes through when they are problem solving and planning/executing tasks. This won’t only have an impact on success in school, but in the business world as well. So, next time you flinch when you see a land mine of craft materials start to fly, relax and know your child is learning and their minds are growing!
Fine Motor Skills
While fine motor skills, the working of the muscles in the fingers and hands, may not seem like it has an effect on cognition, it does. Let’s say you ask your child to cut out a triangle with a pair of scissors; you are not only working their fine motor skills, but their minds must work to follow the lines with their scissors. Their brain also must send signals to their hands to move the scissor handles up and down.
It’s amazing how everything goes back to the brain, even gross and fine motor skills. Now that you know what arts and crafts time does for your child’s brain and cognitive development you can try this cute back to school apple craft!
DIY Apple Craft for Preschoolers
1. Gather your supplies.
You will need a piece each of white, green, and red paper as well as a pair of child-safe scissors, glue, and a marker.
2. Fold the white piece of paper long ways.
Hot dog style for those of us still in our elementary school days, and draw the shape of half an apple (make a heart shape until you get to the bottom and round it off).
3. Have your child cut out the shape.
If your child is younger you will need to help them.
4. RIP AWAY!
Once your child has the apple shape cut out set it aside and give them the red and green paper to rip apart. This will probably be their favorite part!
5. Time to Glue.
Next, hand over the glue and let them go wild! Have your child cover the entire apple shape in white liquid glue. Stick glue will work, but liquid glue is a lot more fun for them and works those little hand muscles!
6. Let Dry and Proudly Display!
Last, have your child sprinkle the ripped up green and red paper on the apple shape that is now covered in a plethora of glue. Let it dry and proudly display!
Daily Mom Recommendation
Once your child is ready to make that leap, consider checking out Childtime. Childtime is truly nurturing in every way. It’s not just any kind of daycare; they make it feel like home. It’s a warm and inviting place where children get the nurturing they need to develop and grow. Children will receive steady guidance from early childhood specialists at Childtime, and your child will learn to discover and explore the world around them, based on their individual interests.
As a parent, you will feel confident and secure that your child is in an enriching environment at Childtime, and they will be treated with the same love and respect that they receive at home.
Now, go round up your kiddo and bust out the glue, paper, and anything else you can think of and get to crafting!
Interested in more fun crafts? Check out 6 Kids Craft Recipes from Kitchen Ingredients!
Photo Credits: The Adventures of Oli and Lou, Francisco Osorio, Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon and The Memoirs of Megan
Sources: Research Shows Parent/Child Craft TIme Has Lifelong Benefits, Discover the Lasting Benefits of Arts and Crafts
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Learning Care Group. The opinions and text are all mine.