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#1 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 02:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Talk to me wise mamas...

Why is there such an emphasis on crafts with preschool kids? Whether it's a brick & mortar preschool or homeschool activities... it seems SO many activities revolve around glue/ paint/ crayons/ etc to make some arts & crafts project.

My DS is just NOT into crafts. Even crafts that are in his field of interest. Maybe it's just the nature of being a 2.5 year old boy. Maybe it's just him. But he much prefers books, chatting, imaginative play, music, just sitting and talking.

But so many preschool-ish type activities are all crafty -- WHY? There is no way he will sit through gluing, painting, cutting, beading, whatever. He's just not into it.

Am I missing something?

Mama to Zach 6-18-04 & Naia 10-13-10 Partner to the sweetest DH. Loving our life afloat. TV Free!
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#2 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 05:04 AM
 
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My guess is that it helps motor planning, fine motor skills, that sort of thing. For what it's worth, my son (5) hasn't been into crafts really except drawing and playdoh.
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#3 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 05:11 AM
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It's about pre-conditioning them for school. Sit, listen, follow direction....
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#4 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 05:54 AM
 
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It's about pre-conditioning them for school. Sit, listen, follow direction....
My daughter is homeschooled and loves craft. I have never done craft with institutionalised school as a thought. We do craft 1. because it's fun 2. because its helps develop fine motor skills and 3. because it's a form of expression.
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#5 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 08:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
It's about pre-conditioning them for school. Sit, listen, follow direction....
That may explain why crafts are done in preschools, but that doesn't explain the focus in homeschooling. I'm really not feeling that rationale at all. Like the pp said, we do crafts because my kiddies think it's fun, and they get to express themselves.
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#6 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 10:09 AM
 
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I remember trying to do crafts with my first child when she was 2 or 2 1/2. I thought she'd enjoy them. Mostly it ended up me doing all the stuff and her watching me because she didn't have the physical dexterity or fine motor skills to do the projects I'd chosen. I gave it up very quickly. By the time she was 3, she was inventing her own crafts and is now one of the craftiest kids I know.

I'd say your son is probably a little young. I think crafts are great for helping kids discover their creativity and develop fine motor skills, but if your kid is not into them (my almost-4 son is not), that's fine. It's probably a personality thing.

Namaste!
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#7 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 10:50 AM
 
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I'm in the same boat with my 2 year old. I organized a craft afternoon at my house and everything with his neighborhood friends thinking that it would generate more interest for him. Yeah right. LOL He runs around the room screaming with his hands in the air while the others quietly make their handprint Christmas wreaths and color in their homemade Christmas cards.

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#8 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 11:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
It's about pre-conditioning them for school. Sit, listen, follow direction....
In schools, it is often about "sit down & shut up"- and obeying authority. Sometimes there is a lot of pressure for all the little projects to look like they came off of the assembly line.
At HOME, it is more about *fine motor skills, verbal skills, and creativity*.

Learning to follow directions can be very important IRL.
Then you can wing it a bit as you know more.
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#9 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 11:40 AM
 
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My DS doesn't like crafts where the outcome is predetermined but he really enjoys "doing art"...so painting, cutting and pasting etc. where he gets to be in charge (he is definitely still in the impressionism stage of creation

Steph

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#10 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 12:12 PM
 
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I do crafts for a few reasons. 1) My four year old really does need to work on developing his fine motor skills. Gross motor is great, but his fine motor needs help.
2) It's fun and creative and I used to love all the wonderful projects he came home from day care with.
3) It takes him away from tv which he would watch all day if I let him.
4) It helps DH feel like I really am doing something with him instead of just sitting around all day.

Kathi

:::Mom to 5 adult children and 8 year old, Dakota "Why do they call it homeschool, we're never at home?"
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#11 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 12:23 PM
 
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All I know is that all of my kids, from toddlerhood on, were in love with glue and glitter and tape and hole punches and clays etc. When we finally redid our ancient kitchen, we included an area where they could work so clean up would be easier.

Right now, there is white glue, cotton balls, markers, tape, yarn and vrious colored paper all over the area. The 7 yr old just takes various items out and goes at it. We have windows filled with creations. lol My kids like 'supplies'. I was never into them having to make 'something', but they always explored with the materials. My 14 yr is very into clay modeling. And drawing. For hours a day. At 15 mos, she would sit at her little table for long perdiods of time and just glue and stick and design...whatever. lol
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#12 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 02:40 PM
 
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I don't know. I've not actually witnessed crafts being pushed on pre-schoolers IRL. However, now that you menton it, I do read about crafting w/ pre-schoolers a lot online.
My DDs went to pre-school at ages 18 mos and 3 yrs, and my 3 yr old did a craft here and there but not often. The craftiest thing my toddler did was paint.

We love crafting in our house. Crafting is fun and creative, but I won't craft w/ my 4 yr old unless I'm already doing it w/ my older DDs. It ends up being frustrating and a waste of time. She loses interest very quickly and has to be able to come and go.: There are too many other things that are fun for both of us.

I would do the things your son enjoys and come back to crafts when he shows interest or is older.
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#13 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 04:16 PM
 
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I just started offerring "craft" type projects to my 4 yr old dd. I believe in open ended art rather than process oriented art, so at hoe we rarely do "projects". I will get out supplies or she will and just let her create whatever she wants.

As long as there is no expectation for how something should look when it is done, then I am fine with craft projects. If you are doing most of the work then I would wonder about the value of the project?

I try to also follow a more "project" approach to learning. DD will tell me an idea, we brainstorm it and watch how it grows!

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#14 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 05:20 PM
 
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My eight year old son is another that just isn't very into crafts, at least the closed-ended, packaged kind. When he was three and four he loved to glue pieces of construction paper together, making "trains". I imagine this type of stuff would be called a misuse of materials in most preschools. I agree with the opinion that crafts are often used to enforce direction following in school settings. I witnessed this many times at the daycare/ preschool I used to work in. Kids would be rounded up away from playing to do a project around the table, being told they must participate.
My son wouldn't be called artistic by most people, that's ok. Personally I love crafts, as does my step daughter. Maybe it is more of a girl thing.....
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#15 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 05:39 PM
 
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My child is one of the ones who loves crafts. He is delighted, at home or at preschool--or anywhere else!--to sit down with crayons, paper, paint, scissors, tape, glue, markers, play-dough--I can't even name all the crafts he has enjoyed. He likes them when there is some direction, but of course he likes best when someone just leaves him the materials where he can reach them. At his preschool, there are generally two crafts every morning just left out on the two accessible tables where the children can get to them, and no direction.

Both in preschool and in playgroup, where they left things open-ended, some of the children would always play with the toys and run around, and some would always gravitate to the craft. My son is generally in the second group! At home I try to leave it open-ended, too. He generally comes up with cooler things on his own than I could ever come up with for him.

As far as what he learns--well there is always a lot of stuff happening that I can see with shapes and colors and the nature of the media, with number and narrative and pre-literacy activities--just a lot going on.

I think crafts are good for a lot of children, but obviously not for everyone. It seems like they develop individual learning styles very early, and one great thing about homeschooling (which I'm not, and you are!) is that you get to respond to what your child likes and learns from best.

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#16 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 07:48 PM
 
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Well, crafts can be good for fine motor skills and motor planning, etc. And lots of kidlets enjoy crafts (especially girls). But honestly, I think one of the main reasons it's pushed is because 1) many preschool teachers enjoy crafts (including many moms) and 2) it has become part of the preschool lore. Honestly, when I taught my all boys 3 yr old class (not by design but coincidence), none of them liked crafts. I cant imagine a 2.5 yr old boy getting too into crafts. (Well, okay, most of them arent into it anyway.) Playing with play dough, drawing/ scribbling (usually for very short periods of time), painting (with a bucket of water outside, on an easel, etc), mixing colors with food coloring, maybe some snipping with scissors, stamping with stamps and a stamp pad, playing with stickers, playing with glitter glue, maybe gluing collages, painting rocks are all fun. But the key is to keep it very short. And if it isnt fun, don't do it. Try again in a few months.
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#17 of 51 Old 12-06-2006, 11:54 PM
 
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My 3-1/2 year old just loves to get really messy...easier to do with paints than with legos?
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#18 of 51 Old 12-07-2006, 12:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone!

Lots of food for thought. I guess I am getting frustrated because many of the activities I have been reading up on for topics that interest him end up with a craft project. And it's just not his cup of tea.

I think we'll stick to -- well -- winging it. He'll tune in much better for a book or a good round of make-believe! Oh and music.
It's amazing how much he's picked up this way with spanish so far and some other things.

Althought I appreciate crafts, I have never been crafty either. I guess it's a gene.

Mama to Zach 6-18-04 & Naia 10-13-10 Partner to the sweetest DH. Loving our life afloat. TV Free!
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#19 of 51 Old 12-07-2006, 11:18 PM
 
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Yeah, follow your child's lead.

We paint, glitter, glue, cut, and craft all the time...my kids love it.
I help but it is all about them enjoying the process, being creative, making decisions, using their hands, and every once in a while following directions.

I'm big into the arts so I'd encourage you to keep art materials available but there is no need to do crafts until he wants to.
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#20 of 51 Old 12-08-2006, 11:04 AM
 
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My daughter just likes to put glue on her hands and then spend long quiet hours sitting and picking the glue off. Its quite relaxing to her I guess. Whenever she gets riled up she asks for the glue to calm her down. :

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#21 of 51 Old 12-08-2006, 01:14 PM
 
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You all have expressed some great reasons for doing crafts. One that I didn't see mentioned is that many kids are kinesthetic in their learning style. They learn by touching, feeling, manipulating. I think many younger children start out as very kinesthetic and their other intelligences develop at a slower pace (think babies and mouthing.)

As I explored learning styles while homeschooling 3 very different children, I learned that what works for one child may not work for the others.

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#22 of 51 Old 12-11-2006, 08:08 PM
 
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Personally, I hate doing art/crafts. But the idea is fine motor skills. My boy has some developmental delays and the obvious place that fine motor shows up at his age is ability to cut, draw/write, pour, sprinkle, etc.
oh, also those preschool songs with finger movements

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#23 of 51 Old 12-13-2006, 01:32 AM
 
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In the early childhood field, they touch on this phenomenon. Parents sometimes EXPECT their child to come home with some sort of "product" to show that they actually "did something" at preschool/childcare that day. If the caregiver says they are learning about the color green or penguins, then a craft is done to show that teaching was performed and children "did something" with that knowledge. Many caregivers adhere to the mantra "art is not a receipt for childcare!" to get parents to lay off. Its sad that some caregivers have to send home information sheets explaining all the learning goes one when a child spends the day "just playing".
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#24 of 51 Old 12-13-2006, 02:05 AM
 
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You know, ds never liked crafts either.

Now, he would love to pour and spill and mix around a lot of different textured materials.

But he never had any interest at all in making something specific, or making what the librarian (usually we experienced crafts at storytimes) showed them how to make.

I paid a lot of money two years ago for ds to take a pottery class. I think he liked it, but the teacher expressed some frustration that ds "didn't spend much time" on the planned clay project for each class. For example she would say "Today we are making a clay ghost". Well, ds was done in 5 minutes, he just slapped it together to get it over with, and then he wanted to make about 20 other figurines.

I didn't see why it was better to spend one hour on one figure, instead of one hour on twenty figures. But the teacher seemed perpetually flustered with ds over that. We didn't go back the next year :

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#25 of 51 Old 12-13-2006, 02:12 AM
 
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Because it's fun! You don't have to make anything in particular, just smear some paint and glue and glitter around and watch the result! And a lot of kids take pride in their creation.
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#26 of 51 Old 12-13-2006, 11:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fieryfly View Post
In the early childhood field, they touch on this phenomenon. Parents sometimes EXPECT their child to come home with some sort of "product" to show that they actually "did something" at preschool/childcare that day. If the caregiver says they are learning about the color green or penguins, then a craft is done to show that teaching was performed and children "did something" with that knowledge. Many caregivers adhere to the mantra "art is not a receipt for childcare!" to get parents to lay off. Its sad that some caregivers have to send home information sheets explaining all the learning goes one when a child spends the day "just playing".
I think this is a HUGE part of why preschools spend so much time "doing crafts". I remember my older dd coming home from an MDO program a few times with an art project I KNOW she didn't do herself (it was just way beyond her abilities at the time)-- it was kind of ridiculous. But on the flip side, when my dds briefly attended a Montessori school, it was kind of frustrating as a parent that I never knew what went on there during the day, in part because we didn't have a craft project to use as a conversation starter. So I'd ask what they did, and they'd answer "I don't remember."

ZM
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#27 of 51 Old 12-13-2006, 03:17 PM
 
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That may explain why crafts are done in preschools, but that doesn't explain the focus in homeschooling. I'm really not feeling that rationale at all. Like the pp said, we do crafts because my kiddies think it's fun, and they get to express themselves.

:

Arts and crafts is about the opposite of "sit down and pay attention." That was really odd.

To the OP: there are sooooooooo many different kinds of activities, it may well just fall under finding what your dc likes to do.
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#28 of 51 Old 12-13-2006, 05:21 PM
 
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Well, first... you are talking about a 2 1/2 year old.

My oldest (girl) refused to even draw or color a picture until she was 3 1/2. SHe told me she couldn't do it. Then one day she drew a person complete with clothes, and hasn't stopped drawing since. She LOVES drawing people, and comes up with stories. She is HIGHLY imaginative, and spends much of her day in imaginative play, and her crafts reflect that.

My youngest... she started drawing people when she turned 2. Her interest is in cutting, though. She LOVES to cut, and she loves it.

Oldest is 4 and youngest 2 3/4 now.


Why do we do crafts?? B/c the girls want to. When they didn't want to do them, we didn't.

For those first 3 1/2 years with my oldest... she did FAR more constuction. Magnetix, lincoln logs, building blocks... that gave her just as good an outlet, and developed some level of fine motor skills.

I still had an art supply cabinet available that the girls were allowed to use whenever they want. Right now they are having 'art time'. My youngest wanted an actual craft, so I found some printout and dress-up snowmen... right up her alley... color and cutting and pasting.

Now crafts in preschool settings... that is a bit different, b/c they seem to make them so simplistic where the crafts are mainly designed to be 'neat' looking when they've finished them, but they've done next to nothing.

Very different than what we do at home.

And btw... if your son isn't into art/crafts , there are still LOTS of things my dd loved when she refused any art projects....

2:1 mixture of corn starch to water
Making flubber
She always did love playdoh
Painting she loved to do with her hands
Shaving cream in a bag with food coloring and mixing....
The girls have 'painted' their faces with powder.

Anything 'messy' my oldest loved until her fine motor skills got better.

HTH.
Tammy
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#29 of 51 Old 12-13-2006, 06:47 PM
 
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I do not like crafts. At all. I lose my temper quickly if I have to participate in a craft with my kids.

I provide the materials and then stand back and let them do whatever. I'm happy and they are happy.

If I try to organize it in any way to have a finished project we will all be unhappy.
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#30 of 51 Old 12-13-2006, 07:01 PM
 
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Another reason crafts might be popular in a group child-care setting is that it's an activity that can be done simultaneously by a group of children under the direction of one adult who may not know that much about children or teaching. "Free play" requires more supervision than is often available, and stories and videos can only hold little attention spans for so long. So that leaves crafts.
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