I adore art and have used it to teach my students how to follow sequential steps to create a craft. Today, Corinne Jacob shares more about how you can use crafts and art to do even more with your students. If you enjoy this post, please share! -Adrianne
What Do Crafts Have to Do with Learning?
Unless you’re an arts teacher, it’s highly unlikely that you do arts or crafts with your students. After all, who has time for paint brushes and craft sticks when you’ve got lessons to cover and a limited time to finish them in? And anyway, what do crafts have to do with learning? As it turns out, plenty! You and your students can benefit in many ways by doing art and craft activities together. Here’s how.
Some students can be difficult to deal with. They may feel upset about their grades, strong dislike towards the subject they are dealing with, or simply be disinterested in their lessons. Whatever the cause, problems like these can lead to tension between you and your students. Taking a break from the lessons and doing a fun art or craft activity can help dissipate the negative emotions and build positive ones between the two of you. Even with your easy students, working on arts and crafts is a great way to have a good time with each other and build positive feelings towards each other.
When students are underperforming in school, their self-confidence often takes a dip. With arts and crafts, there’s no such thing as a grade. As kids find that they can make meaningful creations with their hands, they begin to feel more positively about themselves, giving them a sense of achievement and boosting their self-confidence.
Strengthening understanding of lessons
Various crafts make use of various concepts in science, math, language, and other school subjects. If you want to focus on one particular lesson, you may be able to find a craft project that will help you do so. Working on origami crafts help with spatial reasoning skills. Solving tangram puzzles help build familiarity with geometric shapes. Mixing colors to create new ones teaches you about light, while creating a kaleidoscope sparks an interest in reflection. You can work on an ocean diorama to help kids learn about sea animals, or experiment with paper planes to learn about aerodynamics. Print out instructions to help your student practice reading skills, or discuss the finished product to practice speaking skills. With a little thinking and creativity, you should be able to find art and craft projects related to the lessons you’re students are having trouble with.
Nurturing cognitive skills
As kids try to figure out how to get the end product they have in mind using the materials available, they exercise their creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills, all of which are important for scholastic success.
Developing motor skills
As kids work on crafts, they exercise hand-eye coordination. Depending on the craft, they may also be exercising fine or gross motor skills. If your student has messy handwriting, it would help to work on crafts that develop fine motor skills. These include beading, working with small paintbrushes, or any other activity that involves manipulating small pieces.
Kids who find it difficult to concentrate or stay focused on their work can benefit greatly from getting involved with crafts. Working on a craft project helps improve the mind’s ability to focus. It also inculcates important behaviour such as planning and perseverance.
These are just a few of the ways your students can benefit from working on art and craft projects. What kind of projects to include and how often to do them would depend entirely on you and your students. But it certainly helps to keep in mind that, just like flashcards and revision games, art and craft projects are a valuable addition to a tutor’s repertoire of teaching tools.
Corinne Jacob is a wannabe writer who is convinced that kids learn best when they’re having fun. She is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make learning an enjoyable experience. Corinne loves all things that scream out un-schooling, alternative education and holistic learning.
Image credit: “Poster Paints Craft Projects LOOP Grand Rapids Montessori” by Steven Deopolo is licensed under CC BY 2.0