Creative Activities for Kids: Art and Craft Clubs

Children Get Creative at Summer Craft Club

Kids work on their art project during the Summer Kids Club at the Armed Services YMCA, Marine Corps Base Camp, Lejeune, NC, US.
Kids work on their art project during the Summer Kids Club at the Armed Services YMCA, Marine Corps Base Camp, Lejeune, NC, US. | Source

Creative Play Encourages Individuality

Some of my earliest memories involve creative play. I remember threading lawn daisies to make daisy-chains, digging sticky mud from rain puddles to create primitive pots and, in the fall, making colorful leaf prints from autumn leaves. The activities were fun, they were creative and they used my imagination. The results were individual and unique to me.

Although there was some adult input (for things like help with safely crossing roads or making sure appropriate clothing was worn), the great thing about this type of activity is that each child can participate at their own level. Creative play can be carried out individually or as a group. The activities can be easy or difficult depending on the skills and abilities of the kids involved.

School Lessons Teach Exam Skills Rather than Stretch Creative Ability

From a young age, most schoolchildren are tested regularly to check their knowledge of literacy, numeracy and comprehension. The results are measured against defined national standards. Teachers are under pressure to produce students who meet or exceed the required score. There is so much information for pupils to learn and so little time in which to teach it. The result is that teachers frequently “teach to the test” rather than allow students to acquire knowledge in a more relaxed and creative manner.

Parents are complicit in putting pressure on their kids to do well at school. Good academic results can lead to a better career in the future. Some parents hire private tutors so that their kid’s “serious learning time” is extended beyond normal school hours. However, there is an old saying that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Constant study and no relaxation can make children stressed and irritable. No matter how academic a child is, they still need to make some space for creative and physical activities in their weekly schedule. The video below is about the positive effects that non-academic activity has on school performance.

All Work and No Play Make Jack and Jill Dull Boys and Girls

Art and Craft Clubs for Pre-schoolers and Toddlers

An easy way to get your child creative is to engage them in art and craft activities. Some parents have no problem thinking of different events throughout the year. They remember their own childhood and repeat or adapt the fun things that they did in their own childhood. However, not everyone has this resource, and this is where art and craft clubs can help. They have trained leaders who are skilled at getting every child involved in hands-on practical activities. They may also have the back-up of a development team who continually feed them new ideas that are appropriate to each holiday season and age-group.

Home-schooled children also benefit from attending an art and craft club. They learn to socialize and cooperate with other kids. Play relaxes and stimulates the brain. Constructive art and craft play include activities that involve cooperation, teamwork as well as using problem solving abilities. Children and parents can get messy together in an art and craft club. They are able to try out things that may make too much mess if done at home.

Toddler Play with Colored Pasta

Art and Craft Ideas on YouTube and in Books

There are many books available full of craft projects for all ages. A couple of good ones are “Art Lab for Kids” by Susan Schwake and “Craft-a-Day; 365 Simple Handmade Projects” by Sarah Goldschadt.

YouTube videos are another great resource for anyone who is new to providing practical activities for their kids. Below are a couple of examples of art and craft activities for young kids. The first one uses pasta dyed with food coloring. The second one mimics playing with sand on a beach. Both activities are fun and messy! These kind of creative activities are also educational. They develop a child’s fine motor skills and provide sensory stimulation and introduce simple math and science concepts.

How to Make Moon Sand

Creation Station Franchise, UK

The main drawback with messy creative play is that it is … messy! Some entrepreneurs have therefore set up businesses running art and craft clubs so that children and parents can experience the benefits of creative play without this drawback. An example is the Creation Station franchise in UK. Franchisees are unique individuals. They need to be passionate about art and craft and also be committed to providing a great experience for kids.

For example, Debbie Kersley runs the Cheltenham and Gloucester franchise of Creation Station. She majored in Fine Art and regularly exhibits her paintings. She is also a qualified occupational therapist. This enables her to help students develop fine motor skills and motivate them to learn new ones.

She decided to run a craft franchise as she wanted creativity in all aspects of her work life. She says that running an art and craft club enables her to do something fun that also involves working with children. She is able to control her own working hours and achieve a better work-life balance. The franchise arrangement means that she is her own boss but advice and support is there if needed.

How to Run a Creative Art and Craft Club

If you are thinking about running your own art and craft session, here are some tips to make it a success.

1. If you are using a hall or venue that is unfamiliar to you, check out the premises before the kids arrive. Make sure there are no potential safety hazards.

2. Prepare your materials. Make sure you have enough brushes, paint holders, pots of water etc. for all the children to use. The last thing you want is a fight breaking out!

3. Use waterproof tarpaulins or tablecloths to cover all the working surfaces, including the floor. This will make it much easier for you to clean up afterwards.

4. For safety, take a register and sign in each child as they arrive. Check who will be collecting the child. Only sign out the child to the named adult when the session ends.

5. Make sure every child has overalls or apron on before starting the messy play activity.

Finger Painting a Spider


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