While the development of the left side of the brain is enhanced by traditional school activities that involve words, mathematical problems and logic, the right side of the brain wires creativity and artistic talents that can be developed early on through arts and crafts.
Cricket Chen, M.D., a general pediatrician at the Makati Medical Center, and Maricel Sanvictores, a preschool teacher at La Salle Greenhills, share how arts and crafts can greatly benefit a child’s early development.
Upping the E.QMaking arts and crafts can soothe and relax a child because its methods encourage one to think out of the box and beyond traditional boundaries. The communication centers of children are not mature yet, and often they cannot verbally express what they feel. Art is a way of unlocking their emotions and thoughts.
Dr. Chen explains, “The child only recognizes herself as an ‘I’ or an individual from the rest of the world by age three. Though they may be able to express basic needs, they cannot yet discern feelings or emotions.” “Precisely because arts and crafts are an expression of one’s self, there are no wrong or right answers. And when kids finish a project, they feel a sense of accomplishment, greatly boosting their developing self-confidence and emotional intelligence,” Sanvictores posits.
I think and I doThe array of materials used in an arts and crafts project impacts the development of a child’s cognitive skills. The child’s imagination is challenged as she thinks of using cotton to resemble clouds or crushed egg shells to resemble a pebbled beach, for example. The exposure to colors is also an experiential lesson on cause and effect.
The use of different textures teaches a child the concept of opposites; using different shapes or lines to come up with an object teaches her association and problem solving skills.
Dr. Chen cites as an example, “Give a child a piece of paper, ask her to draw a picture using different materials apart from paint, and you enhance her visual/spatial intelligence. She figures out that she needs to keep within that space, but her imagination can propel her to put a scene together.” The child learns to put objects in one space, while being mindful of the space in relation to other objects.
Fine motor skills:
Handy workGross motor skills are developed through sports and other physical activities, but fine motor skills are best developed through hands-on, practical use of tools such as scissors, glue sticks, paint brushes—all considered must-have supplies for an arts and crafts project.
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Activities such as cutting and pasting promote dexterity, while the coordination of hand and eye movement trains the child to manipulate small objects using her fingers. Meanwhile, crumpling, rolling and gluing paper involve attention to detail. Finally, putting individual materials together to create something is an exercise in integration and symmetry.