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    Educational Philosophy, Home Education

    Crafts in the Life of the Child (Part III)

    December 2, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    If there is one thing we all probably agree on, it is that crafting by using scissors, tape, glue, and a dash of imagination is a fun way for children to develop their motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and all of those other technical descriptions developed by the “experts.” We parents may use different words. We say that it gives them greater control over their bodies, and we instinctively know that body control is part of the big picture of self-control. We also say that is a step in the direction of developing creativity, artistic ability, and craftsmanship.

    Crafts in the Life of the Child {Part III}

    I have seen my seven-year-old go through three or four attempts on a creation before he was satisfied. This is what I mean by a step toward craftsmanship.

    So while my Part II post might have made it sound like I question all crafts at all times, I really don’t. I think that children should grow, so I think that if an eight-year-old is still cutting paper into bits and gluing it on a page, we aren’t really heading anywhere. But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t let a two- or three-year-old begin to get a handle on paper cutting skills, as well as gluing, drawing, and taping skills.

    My oldest was basically alone for four years. My second child wasn’t born until he was nearly three, and so she was a baby until he was four. This means that she slept a lot and he was generally the focus of my attention. So, unlike the other children, he learned in an organic sort of way. All I had were paper, scissors, and crayons. He learned to cut by cutting, to color by coloring, to glue or tape by gluing and taping.

    Make sense?

    But by the time my second child was ready for that, I didn’t have the time because I was beginning school with Number One and caring for newborn Number Three. However, this particular child (Number Two) craves these sorts of activities. She was practically born with a pencil in her hand. This means that to deny her in this area was really to deny something she needed.

    I have already mentioned that I am not a crafty mom. This means I didn’t really have the brain power to think of how to give her what she needed. So I searched around and found some helpful workbook-type materials that were relatively inexpensive.

    Our favorites have been Kumon workbooks. They build skills one on the other, and it takes a short amount of time to complete one task. So far, we have been pleased with Let’s Cut Paper!More Lets Cut Paper!Let’s Fold!More Let’s Fold!, and we are currently using My First Book Of Cutting. She now folds perfectly on the line, and is well on her way to cutting out complicated objects.

    My two-year-old will begin using these same workbooks quite soon because I have been so pleased with them.

    What I have observed in the greater world, however, is second-graders doing what I’m doing with my four-year-old. Now, certainly, their end result looks a little bit nicer. But one of the things I want to think about in regard to the craft issue is the idea of moving on and forward. We’ll talk about that a bit tomorrow.


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    1 Comment

  • Reply Mystie December 3, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Yes, paying attention to the individual child’s needs is crucial, and something I could see myself missing. I can see that my boys are getting their hand-eye coordination and creating needs out with outside play, Legos, drawing, and fighting (swords, guns, wrestling). They enjoy crafts when they get the chance at it, but their attention span for really creating something with scissors & paper really isn’t long.

    However, I will have to keep my eye on the up-and-coming children to make sure I don’t miss giving them opportunities they need, if they require something different than the first two.

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