The Many Benefits of Arts and Crafts for Children Posted on 28 June 2021 by Amber Gravenell in General The 29th June 2021 to July 19th 2021 would have been Children’s Art Week, run by Engage. Due to Covid-19, the plans for this year’s celebration of all things arty are unclear. However, you can still organise your own celebration of Children’s Art Week within your school (or home!) and decide on your own focus and themes! Last year, Children’s Art Week took place across 3 consecutive weeks with each week having a different theme. Week 1 was all about the Natural World, Week 2 was focused on connecting across generations and Week 3 was dedicated to literacy and creative writing. Of course your art week does not need to span across 3 weeks. The most important thing is the recognition of arts and crafts and the many benefits it can have for all of us!Benefits of Arts and Crafts1) Self-Expression and Managing FeelingsAs with all creative pursuits, arts and crafts activities are a fantastic creative outlet. Through art, children can express themselves freely, and sometimes without realising! Subconsciously, children will be expressing their inner thoughts and feelings through their artwork. Art is a great way for children to reflect and manage their emotions. The process of turning a thought into a tangible piece of art is a brilliant way of allowing us to manage our internal thoughts and feelings, moulding them into something real. Moreover, art and creative pursuits are proven to have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.2) Improves Confidence and Self-EsteemArt can improve confidence and self-esteem in a multitude of ways. For one, children will gain confidence in expressing themselves through the medium of art. Being able to channel thoughts and feelings into their artwork will, in turn, help them feel more confident in communicating how they are feeling. Moreover, art involves peer assessment and feedback. Receiving positive or constructive feedback can only boost self-esteem and allow children to recognise their own strengths and accomplishments. Art is a truly unique concept which differs greatly from one person to the next. This serves as a validation of each person’s individuality and their unique existence. Moreover, as with most things, children will grow in confidence the more they engage with art. Improving their techniques, understanding the underpinnings of great art and recognising how art makes them feel all contribute to their sense of self-worth. 3) Fine Motor SkillsA key physical skill which can be improved through art activities is fine motor skills. During arts and crafts children regularly use the various muscles in their fingers, wrists and hands. Regular use of these muscles improves their strength and finesse, which then makes other tasks, such as writing, far easier!4) PatienceWe all know that perfection takes time. Whether that be the length of time it takes to complete a piece of art or successfully executing an artistic technique, it takes patience and dedication. Once their artwork is completed, children will feel a huge sense of accomplishment and will learn that hard work and dedication is very much rewarded. It can be tempting to rush things to get them completed quicker or to give up completely if it is taking longer than planned. But, with time, children’s levels of patience will increase and they will realise good things take time! 5) ConcentrationSimilarly, concentration is a skill which isn’t learnt overnight; it develops slowly. Remaining committed to the task at hand and not letting their minds wander can be challenging for some children. But, with an end goal in mind and the motivation to succeed, budding young artists will focus on their artistic vision. Practicing focus and concentration will benefit them in all areas of life and in a vast array of subjects. 6) Planning and ForesightA key part of a teacher’s lesson planning incorporates giving pupils opportunity to practice their planning skills. Whether that be writing a plan for a Big Write or writing step by step planning for a scientific experiment, planning can be incorporated easily into the curriculum. With arts and crafts, it is important for children to have an end goal in mind before beginning. They will also need to think about materials and equipment they may need. For an artistic vision to be executed successfully, it is a good idea for children to think ahead and consider how they will achieve the end goal. Planning, and having foresight, is an important life skill which goes hand in hand with other key skills, such as organisation.7) Organisational SkillsIn a similar vein to planning, organisational skills can be developed through arts and crafts. Making sure they have the equipment they need close by, a good workspace and getting timings right can contribute hugely to the success of an art project. Being organised is, of course, a fantastic quality to have and can make everyday life that tiny bit easier.Why Is Creativity Important? Creativity goes hand in hand with imagination! Imagination underpins creativity and vice versa. Imagination is crucial to problem solving, thinking outside of the box and being able to immerse oneself in many pursuits, such as art, literature and film. Being able to think creatively as well as creative expression helps to broaden the imagination.Being creative helps children to understand themselves. Creativity is a valuable form of self-expression and the ways in which children’s creativity comes out helps them to understand their inner thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes.As well as helping them to understand themselves, creativity is a valuable method of self expression! Creativity underpins key skills such as problem solving; thinking outside of the box is a key skill and can help to overcome a range of problems and challenges. Creativity helps build resilience! Being able to think creatively helps us to look at setbacks and challenges in different ways, which then leads to being able to move past them or solve any problems.The Importance of Making Time for Art in the School DayThe above benefits of arts and crafts activities clearly show how crucial art is for development and what a positive impact art can have! But, most importantly, it is an enjoyable subject which is highly individual and open to interpretation.The National Curriculum describes Arts and Crafts below… ‘Art, craft and design embody some of the highest forms of human creativity. A high-quality art and design education should engage, inspire and challenge pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design. As pupils progress, they should be able to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design. They should also know how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.’It also states the following aims for art in the national curriculum:‘The national curriculum for art and design aims to ensure that all pupils: produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences become proficient in drawing, painting, sculpture and other art, craft and design techniques evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design know about great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.’You can read more about Art and Design in the National Curriculum here.Art is a subject that can be linked to many other subjects! If your school takes a topic based approach, it is very straightforward to incorporate art. For example, if your topic is the Stone Age, you could incorporate art easily with activities such as cave painting and designing a Stone Age house with natural materials. Even without a topic based approach, it is easy to link art in with texts being studied in English, with RE topics or even maths with the creation of helpful posters to aid understanding of key concepts. However, it is also important to have art as a stand-alone subject with off-timetable sessions. The off-timetable sessions add an element of surprise and excitement to art lessons. For example, your school may take part in designing Christmas cards or getting involved in charitable events, such as cake sales.If you are feeling inspired to get crafty, our blog ' Let's Be Bold About the "Non-Academic" Benefits of the Arts' is an ideal next read!