Our kids and grandkids always loved making things. Even the boys enjoyed easy loom-style knitting to make things for themselves or their toys. One of our boys learned to crochet, just so he could make pockets for a pool table he was building! Here’s a video on how to begin knitting, for kids:
There are tons of benefits for kids in creating things, whether it’s through a traditional skill like knitting or building a space rocket out of an old detergent bottle. There’s a lot to be said for toys from the arts and crafts section of the toy store, too, though a lot of kids will sigh when they first open the box. There are a multitude of developmental effects from these carefully designed products that enhance a child’s creativity and thought processes.
The ability to make something from nothing is a skill that has a lot of value. It has become less popular in recent years, perhaps, due to the rise of technology, but kids will still get into something craft-related if they have a good chunk of time, and some encouragement from you. It helps if you sit down and do it with them, especially for younger kids.
Kids who are successful at arts and crafts are going to enjoy a rise in self-esteem – and successful, in this case, doesn’t mean creating an award winning work of art. They only have to produce something they like, get praise from you, and find a place to put it where it will be admired. This is clear from how they react when you put one of their drawings or paintings on display. Have you thought about finding a shelf to display that birdcage they made out of popsicle sticks, too?
Almost any project can be designed to suit their age and ability, however able or disabled, young or old. Even toddlers can draw and make things, with some help. If you’re stuck for ideas, there are plenty of books about craft projects for kids. It’s usually best to pick simple ones, especially if your kids have a short attention span (which most do these days – video games train them to it!)
Of course, some kids find they have a particular taste or talent in art or crafts, and then there’s no stopping them. In some cases, they may make a career of it; in others, it can provide enjoyment and a sense of achievement and self-worth throughout their lives. Think how much you enjoy knitting (if, like me, you do!) and how important it is to you to make things.
Your kids may not like the same craft activities that you do. Especially as they get older, they’re likely to want to create something that’s more their own, not just make little imitations of Mom and Dad’s creations. So the more skills you can teach them, and the more you can direct them to find new applications for themselves as they move from childhood toward teen, the more of a gift you are giving them. If the child who showed a talent for drawing beautiful pictures when small, is suddenly making nothing but monsters and caricatures, don’t despair. That might just lead to the discovery of what he wants to do with his life.