Creative Activities for Kids: Art and Craft Clubs
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, Not Use 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 Makes Jack (and Jill) a Dull Child
Art Clubs for Pre-schoolers and Toddlers
A good way to help your child be 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.
Find Art and Craft Ideas Online and in Print
There are plenty of books available with ideas for craft projects. You could borrow a few from your local lending library. That way you don't need to spend a lot on a book that may be used only a couple of times. Talk to the librarian and they will guide you through the huge selection available.
YouTube videos are another great resource. Below are some examples of art and craft activities for young kids found on YouTube. 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! They are also educational introducing simple math and science concepts. In addition, they develop a child’s fine motor skills and provide sensory stimulation.
Toddler Play With Colored Pasta
What is your favorite art or craft play activity?
How to Make Moon Sand Sensory Activity
Kids Love Messy Play
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. These entrepreneurs are passionate about art and craft and they are also committed to providing a great experience for kids.
One such club is run by Debbie Kersley. She runs art and craft sessions in Cheltenham and Gloucester in the UK. 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 wanted creativity in all aspects of her work life. 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.
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.