Having an area set up in your toy room or in a bucket that is easily accessible when your child wants to colour or craft seems to be something a lot of parents do. Our 7 year old niece has one, and according to her mom, it is used on a daily basis. For her birthday and christmas it is typically very well received when we give her paper and markers or any crafty type materials. Do you do this as well? If not, would you consider it? As our daughter just turned one, it’s not exactly something that we need to tackle at the moment – although as a primary school teacher, my office already has everything that she probably needs.
In today’s society, when it comes to crafting, a large emphasis has been placed on STEAM activities. Have you heard of these? STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. There are so many different challenges that you can do that cover these five big areas, as well as help to build self-confidence, problem solving skills, creativity, teamwork and so much more. I have begun using them in my classroom over the last little while and they are typically very well received by my 6 year old students (and their grade 8 buddies).
The biggest part about STEAM challenges is that you don’t necessarily tell them how to solve the problem. You give them what the end result needs to be (but be prepared for everyone to have something different), and the materials that they are allowed to use. Sometimes in the classroom, I will also set a time limit on the project – you have to do what works for you.
In your Art Cart, your Craft Center, or whatever you choose to call it, add some materials that can be turned into something new. A large majority of these can just be things you already may have laying around your home such as LEGO or recyclable materials such as pudding cups, paper towel rolls, or water bottles. If you’re thinking about hitting up the dollar store to add to it or build one, some suggestions are craft sticks (popsicle sticks), pipe cleaners, play doh, cotton balls, tooth picks, and so much more.
If you don’t know where to start, check out the STEAM Challenge cards that I have created and attached here for you. Remember, you don’t need to give a lot of direction or help problem solving here, just allow your child to create and explore (if absolutely necessary, then I would give some guiding questions to help them think about how they may want to consider solving the problems, but I wouldn’t solve it for them).
Click below to download the STEAM Challenge Cards