Crafts for Kids: Go Big, Go Sensory

We do a lot of art in our house.

Isabel, my 3.5 year old extrovert, thrives when she’s doing something social, something with me. I can only play so much hide-and-seek, I can only stand so much, “You be the daddy and I’ll be the baby”, I can only order so many cups of pretend coffee from her kitchen cafe before I start to go a little squirrelly with the boredom of repetition. So, we paint.

Mark brought home a huge roll of paper from his office recently, so one day, after nap time, I grabbed the opportunity to pull out our paints and dive in. Like, really dive in.

Arts and crafts in general are fabulous activities for kids and their skill development, including early literacy development, which happens to be my specialty. It gives them a chance to stretch their creative muscles, helps with with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills (crucial for holding a pencil to write their names once they hit kindergarten!), and develops their language and recall skills as they talk about what they’re doing, both during the activity and after.

But, what about finger paints? We got this set almost a year and a half ago as a gift for Christmas, so I was ready to pretty much use them up. Finger paints encourage another aspect of early development. As they paint, kids feel the squishiness of it beneath their fingers, recognize the difference between painted and dry paper, and, inevitably, experience the smear of paint on skin that isn’t their fingers. Sensory experiences help kids learn about their world.

Isabel got right into the activity with her feet. I pushed her to try stepping into the paint and then walking up and down over the paper. Eventually, she scooped a paint brush and moved on to painting – or having me help paint – the bottom (and tops!) of her feet. Eden moved between paint brush and fingers, trying to pinch the paint up between index finger and thumb. Eventually, she discovered great joy in smearing as many colours over her legs as possible – there was a reason I made sure she was only wearing a diaper!

In the end, not only did the kids have fun (Isabel tried to convince me we should do it again immediately after the bath that washed all the paint off them!), but we’ve got a huge piece of artwork for which I’ve got a couple display ideas. We’ll see if I ever actually get it up on one (or three!) of our walls.

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