Creative Ideas, Arts and Crafts

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We have a woodturning and craft supplies section on our website for a very good reason. Creative arts and crafts materials are some of the most popular buys amongst our vast collection of wood finishing products.

While the USA is the home of obsessive ‘crafting’, us Brits are pretty good at it too. But there’s much more to arts and crafts than simple pleasure and leisure. As it turns out, creativity has a profound effect on human beings, whether we’re grown ups or only little.

We thought it’d be fun to take a look at the benefits of arts and crafts for kids and provide a few inspirational art and crafts ideas while we’re at it.

The benefits of arts and crafts for kids

According to the Early Childhood News website, getting crafty and arty comes with all sorts of vital developmental benefits. It helps children learn about the world, cope with life and gain confidence in their abilities. In fact, kids who are regularly involved in arty and crafty stuff tend to be better at:

  • Using their imaginations
  • Expressing themselves
  • Developing self-confidence and self-discipline
  • Interpreting and reflecting upon life
  • Enjoying different cultures and understanding different values
  • Being more open to new learning across every subject
  • Thinking critically and solving problems
  • Making informed judgements
  • Working cooperatively with others and in groups
  • Appreciating different opinions and points of view

So, it looks like art and craft helps kids reach development goals, achieve better thinking skills (AKA cognitive development), feeling skills (emotional development), relating skills (social development) and co-ordination skills (sensory motor development). And, of course, creativity is also great fun. As the Early Childhood News site says:

“The potential for creativity, “the act of making something new” lives in each of us. Most of us act less and less upon this potential with each passing year. Our own creativity becomes a memory, something we outgrow or lose along the way. If children grow up believing they are creative, they will have a better chance of finding constructive outlets for creative energy in later years. A child’s creativity will not be just a memory; it will be a valuable, personal resource to use every day.”

Humans have always been creative

How come arts and crafts are such developmental powerhouses with such profound effects on the people who get involved? When you think about it, you realise creativity is more or less embedded in our DNA. It wasn’t that long ago, before the industrial revolution, that we had to hand-make almost everything we used in everyday life, from pottery and metalwares to rugs, blankets, clothing, jewellery and shelter. And it went on for hundreds of thousands of years as our primitive primate ancestors gradually evolved into what we are today.

The pleasure almost every child gets from creativity mirrors this. To this day doing arts and crafts encourages kids to use their imaginations and create their own entertainment. Making something delivers a child more confidence in their abilities, which in turn helps them make better individual decisions and better-informed life choices.

10 cool arts and crafts ideas for kids

How can you encourage your child to get creative? It helps to put together a list of creative arts and crafts ideas for kids, which you can dip into next time the weather’s dreadful and they’re trapped indoors, they’re on school holidays or bored and restless for whatever reason. Here are just a few simple ideas:

  1. Make hand print birthday cards, party invites or wrapping paper
  2. Print out these fabulous free colouring pages for kids
  3. Make edible finger paints
  4. Paint a portrait of you, the dog, the cat, the grandparents…
  5. Grow mustard and cress indoors – you can grow it anywhere: in an old shoe, a paper bag, a matchbox, a hat…
  6. Get busy drawing on the pavement or the driveway with colourful chalks – you can always wash it off
  7. Make your own Play Dough
  8. Learn finger-knitting – hours of fun
  9. Decorate an old hat
  10. Do papier mache – wonderfully messy and it dries as hard as wood

Staying safe versus having fun

Craft materials and equipment can be dangerous, sharp or even poisonous. It’s your job to teach your child not to do crazy things like eat paint, sandpaper their eyebrows off or poke craft tools up their noses. It’s a great way to help them learn what’s safe and what isn’t, part and parcel of the maturing process. If they’re really little, join in or supervise them until they’ve learned not to do silly things. It won’t take long since children are like miniature sponges, programmed by nature to learn.

Things to avoid – Don’t spoil the creative experience!

The problem with grown-ups is that we have a strong drive to get things “right”. Children are less set in stone, which is why their creativity outstrips most adults’ so dramatically. It’s important to let your kids get creative without peeing on their fireworks, if you’ll pardon my French! Here’s how to help your children get the most out of the art experience:

  • If your kids don’t fancy it, don’t force it – There’s nothing more likely to put them off for life than making them do something they just aren’t interested in. It’s your job to encourage them in whatever they want to create…and reward them when they finish it
  • Keep it simple – It’s easy to overestimate your own abilities, never mind those of your children. Make sure your child can actually achieve the creative projects you set up for them. If the project is relatively easy, your child will soon gain confidence and get excited about trying something more challenging next time
  • There’s no need to rush – You need time to do things right, and so does your child. Allow your child plenty of time to think, mull things over and enjoy themselves to the full
  • Let them experiment – You might know that throwing paint on a wooden floor has a certain effect. A small child doesn’t know, and experimentation is a brilliant way to learn, so don’t get too uptight about mess. Clear a space where they can get as messy as they like

Cheap craft supplies

There are plenty of places online where you can buy cheap craft supplies. Pound Shops are often really good sources, too. And you might have a lot of the stuff you need at home anyway, just lying around. You don’t need posh art paper, kids are happy drawing on more or less anything including old envelopes.

If you’ve saved scraps of fabric, old clothing, newspapers and glossy magazines, string, wool, wire, tights and stockings, tissue paper, old wrapping paper, Christmas and birthday cards, let your children loose on it all and watch their natural, in-built creativity flow!

Creativity is for grown-ups, too

There’s no reason why creativity should be the exclusive territory of children. It’s just as good for grown ups. As an adult you can use any and all of the excellent, tried and tested products in our crafts department to bring old, knackered wood back to its former glory, renovate furniture, create shabby chic masterpieces, stunning wood floors and more. Go play!

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