Crafts are great for children’s health. They develop creativity, problem solving skills and develop fine motor skills. It’s also an opportunity for learning about science, the world and even mathematics. Summer is great because we are able send our children outsides for crafts which has benefits over crafts inside. The sunshine on our children is needed for the synthesis of vitamin D. Being outside is also very relaxing and improves children’s connection to nature. For the parents, there is less mess! The explosion of the glitter pot just leaves pretty grass rather that a massive clean-up operation and a sparkly house!
This has massive benefits to both you and your children. The raw materials are free for a start, and it doesn’t matter how many sticks and stones you get through, there are always more. Children get to explore nature in a new way and experiment with the structure of natural things. Nature crafts are even better if the child has chosen the material themselves on a nature walk or even in the back garden. Nature crafts encourage creativity and thinking outside the box. The mix of flowers, grass seeds, pinecones and moss will keep any child busy, and there really is 101 and one things you can do with a stick!
Flower pressing is a good way for children to learn about flowers and to learn plant anatomy. Ask your child to collect flowers and petals of their choice. Lay them flat on some kitchen towel and put another piece of kitchen towel on top. Put it all inside a heavy book and either put it on the book shelf squeezed between other books, or put a weight on it. The pressed flowers will be ready in a week to stick onto cards and pictures.
Perfume making - Perfume can also be made from flower heads. Simply take a small amount of almond oil and mix in your preferred flowers. It is safest to use flowers that you know are not poisonous such as roses and dandelions. Keep mixing until the petals start to break up and turn brown. Strain the mixture and apply as desired.
As lovely as children’s crafts are, parents can become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of objects that we have no idea what to do with! If you are lucky enough to be able to go to the beach, then bring back pebbles for an activity of pebble painting. If you only have access to a park or garden, then use the biggest stones you can find. Using poster paints work best, and when the paint is dry, varnish the pebble with a coat of PVA glue to help protect the art from the weather.
Being careful with a knife, older children can cut out shapes while you may need to do it for younger children. Printing helps children learn shapes and recognise how traditional printing works. If there are any birthdays coming up in the family, then vegetable printing makes excellent wrapping paper.
Take a metal tin, fill it with soil and add some grass seeds. Other small plants can be added to represent bushes and stones added to create a cave or a path. A small pot can be sunk into the soil for a pond, and small people and animal figures can be added for fun, and before you know it, you have a home-made safari or luxury toy retreat! This teaches children about the life cycle of plants and how sometimes patience is required.