Last week Diego and I sat down to do a lot of art projects. We did Mother’s Day cards for Titas and Godmothers, we did teacher appreciation cards and we did birth announcements. I realized that it had been a long time since we really made a mess of our dining room table, spread out lots of materials and really got our hands sticky! Now that he is five, we do a lot less of what Santi is starting to do at 17 months: finger painting, dot paint, sticking stickers, scribbling with markers and so on. Diego’s interests have just changed and I have become a little lazy because I know he gets to do a lot of art work at school. BUT, I also realized how much he still needs to get creative at home, how nice it was to spend time sitting next to him as we worked together and how relaxing it was for me too! As I shopped for birthday parties Diego was invited to this month, I also realized how many cool crafts are designed for girls his age (jewelry making, mosaics, nail art, etc.) and how there isn’t much for boys! So it is up to us, moms of boys, to think about the benefits of keeping them interested in arts and crafts. Here are a few reasons why it is so important:
Concentration At age 4 or 5, kids really need to start concentrating on the task at hand. Besides developing the creativity that comes along with making a card for example, children practice sitting for more than five minutes, have a beginning and an end to achieve and are using multiple materials= helping them completely forget everything else around them and focusing on one specific goal.
Working Together “Building” or designing a car out of a box with siblings or friends stirs the imagination. The social aspect is a plus. Watching your kids work with you or others help them so much outside of arts and crafts. Team building and social skills is essential for elementary school children.
Planning If your child is anything like mine…bossy…taking charge is very important to him! Planning a project and watching Diego think about what he needs, gathering materials, and understanding what comes first, second and so on, he is doing more than just an art project. He is thinking systematically, using logic and wondering how he can make something “better” and taking initiative.
Showing Emotion What happens to some boys?? As they get older, they stop expressing so much emotion. It’s true that a picture can say a thousand words. Painting, drawing, and creating can bring out the words they are feeling at the moment. Also, I have witnessed characteristic traits in Diego I didn’t know existed until I saw them during “art time”. He is a perfectionist and I welcome “mistakes” so we can talk about those emotions (I used to have my eighth graders color while we discussed literature…really opened the boys up).
Completing a Task Oh it feels so good to see your work done, hanging on a wall, mailing, eating (don’t forget cooking and baking is an art!) or playing with it! Some art projects take five minutes or forty minutes and it’s okay! Having kids keep coming back to it and later admiring their hard work is so rewarding to them!
Keep encouraging your boys to build, design, paint, cook, garden, and draw! I’d love to hear what cool projects you do with your boys! I need more ideas!!!