Kids love arts and crafts. More importantly, art is good for kids! Arts and crafts teach fine motor skills, increase emotional intelligence and creativity, and can even improve academic performance. PBS notes that there are many advantages to doing arts and crafts with children, including language development and cultural awareness. Penn State University also argues that arts and crafts can help children develop better fine motor skills that can also help with writing, making arts and crafts a great activity for children.
Arts and crafts also make for fun family activities that the whole family can participate in. Children, adults, and communities can come together to enjoy and learn. Below are resources for arts education, arts and crafts for kids, and ways to incorporate art into family and academic time.
Art education is crucial for children. Edutopia notes that arts education, including arts and crafts, makes children more open to learning. The National Urban Alliance argues that experiences like art help students with common core subjects as well. Art education, both in schools and at home, is a great way to educate children!
Center for Online Education: 10 salient studies on the arts in education
Education Week: Arts education matters
Resources for Kids
Kids can get some great arts and crafts resources on their own! For example, Open Culture has instructional videos, project instructions, and free resources for kids to use for arts and crafts. Artists Helping Children (AHC) also has resources for children on their website, including crafts for specific holidays. UNICEF also has a series of fun, educational resources for children.
You can also visit the Denver Art Museum: Creativity resource.
Resources for Parents and Teachers
Parents and teachers can guide kids in using creating art, and in finding resources for those activities. The University of Texas gives a list of resources for parents, and Healthy Child Healthy World provides a list of resources for parents and teachers to find non-toxic art supplies for arts and crafts projects. Teachers.net also offers a compendium of lesson plans and resources for teachers to use in their classrooms.
The J. Paul Getty Museum: Grade-by-grade guide to building visual arts lessons
Common Sense Education: Arts resources for teachers
International Literacy Association: Parent and afterschool resources
Drawing Arts and Crafts
Drawing is a great way to encourage both creativity and fine motor skills and can be used to develop language through visual storytelling. Sesame Street offers many pages of drawing resources for kids using a variety of mediums. Many local art centers, like The 567, also offer drawing classes for kids as well. Drawing can be a great and inexpensive way to do arts and crafts with kids, as there are very few materials needed!
To learn more, you can also visit the Mustard Seed School: Observational drawing as a science tool.
Painting Arts and Crafts
Painting is another way children can experience arts and crafts, both as creators and as spectators. Many cities, like the City of Memphis, have art resources that include painting classes for children, as well as lists of local museums where children can see art. The Massachusetts Department of Early Education gives resources on sponge painting to teach children about shades, color, and problem-solving. The National Gallery of Art is also a great place to show children art – online or in-person. It also offers resources for painting arts and crafts for kids.
To have children practice painting online, go to TuxPaint: Painting software for kids.
Clay Arts and Crafts
Clay and pottery arts can be fun for kids, but can also teach them about physics and environmental science while promoting sensory intelligence. Clay arts and crafts can be more difficult to teach at home. However, with classes and the right home resources, they can be great fun for the whole family!
Some organizations, like the Clay Art Center, offer clay and pottery classes for children and support local art programs. Museums, like the Portland Children’s Museum, also sometimes offer classes and hands-on experiences with clay for children. In addition, the Ceramic Arts Network offers many resources for using clay at home with kids.
Another great site to visit is Art in Action: Resources for art education.
Paper Arts and Crafts
Paper arts and crafts are incredibly accessible for children and can be a great way to incorporate easy crafts into educational settings and play at home. One way to relate arts and crafts to STEM fields is through creating graph paper, as outlined by Code.org. This is also a great way to integrate arts and crafts into science and math lessons.
Mensa also has resources for kids looking to create paper arts and crafts, including projects to understand probability and to create paper airplanes. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, like many museums, also has classes and drawing opportunities for children at their museums. Museums are great resources, and many have free visit and class days.
For more ideas, go to Ideas4Kids: Paper crafts.
Eco-Friendly Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts are great for kids, but they should be great for the environment too! Making sure that your projects are eco-friendly makes the activity more fun for kids and the environment, and provides a great opportunity to teach kids about being environmentally conscious.
PBS has a variety of arts and crafts ideas that are “green” and earth friendly. These crafts and opportunities can help kids have fun while helping to save the planet!
To learn more, go to Green Camps Initiative: Recycling arts projects.
Arts and Crafts for Kids Additional Resources
It is easy to find arts and crafts ideas of all varieties for kids. Arts and crafts are fun, but they are also important, as they can teach useful and essential skills – both academic and social – in enjoyable ways. Here are a couple additional resources for arts and crafts fun and learning!
American Craft Council offers a lot at Resources and programs.
EdSource offers a teaching resource at Art appreciation helps young children learn to think and express ideas.