Many parents are a bit scared of homeschooling with arts and crafts.
Especially if the word ‘glitter’ is mentioned.
However, the benefits of arts and crafts are enormous. They educate and develop essential skills imperceptibly. While having fun, experimenting, and creating, kids are developing physical strength, coordination, and many mental skills. And arts and crafts can form a solid base of ability for handwriting, literacy, maths, science, and every other academic subject you can think of.
Best of all, it’s enjoyable. It’s much more fun to sculpt with playdough and thread beads onto a necklace than do copywork – but both craft activities will help to develop the muscles and coordination needed for handwriting, making copywork much easier and less likely to cause tears.
It’s like cross-training for homeschool. You may not technically be doing academics, but arts and crafts will improve everything else.
Why You Should Homeschool with Arts and Crafts
Improves Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills involve the large muscles of the body. These muscles are essential for, well, everything! They’re used in standing, walking, climbing, and to maintain posture. Any movement activity that builds strength and coordination in these muscles will improve many skills.
Painting or drawing at an easel, sculpting clay or playdough, or drawing obstacle courses on concrete with chalk all help to strengthen and coordinate those large muscles.
Improves Fine Motor Skills
Manipulating a paintbrush, holding a colored pencil, using scissors, and selecting beads all help to develop fine motor skills. This muscle strength and dexterity is a great foundation for skills like handwriting, tying shoelaces, and even complicated adult skills.
I’m positive that the coordination I developed through crocheting and handcrafts helps me with nursing – drawing up intravenous medication is much easier with a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination.
Enhances Creativity and Imagination
Out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving are encouraged in arts and crafts. Often, the activity is open-ended, so there’s no pressure to come up with the ‘right’ answer. Children get to make many small, low-risk decisions (Which blue would be best? What’s the most effective way to stick this to that?), which helps build their creative confidence and ability.
Increases Spatial Awareness
Spatial awareness is the awareness of your body and other objects in space. It helps you put a cup down on the table, rather than missing the table and dropping it on the floor! We use our spatial awareness all day, every day, and good spatial awareness is essential for tasks like reading maps, driving a car, and assembling furniture from IKEA.
Improves Patience, Focus, and Concentration
Arts and crafts take time. Spending long periods of time on a project, waiting for paint and glue to dry, and working toward a desired outcome all help to build patience, focus, and concentration.
Improves Sequencing Skills
Many arts and crafts projects require proper sequencing. You have to paint the background before the foreground. You have to wait for one layer to dry before adding the next. Of course, you can always experiment with a different sequence – but the natural, visible consequences of muddy paint colors or a model falling apart give concrete reasons why it’s important to perform tasks in a logical order.
Learning How to Follow Instructions
Tutorials, lessons, and instructions all help develop skills in interpreting and following instructions. A child who can follow instructions grows into a child who can follow a recipe and an adult who can build IKEA furniture effortlessly.
OK, maybe not effortlessly – but they’ve got a higher chance of finishing it without throwing it.
Getting Started with Homeschooling with Arts and Crafts
OK, so now you know the benefits of arts and crafts – but there’s still the problem of how to get started (without destroying the house). Luckily, there are plenty of arts and crafts you can do that don’t require professional skill levels OR create a lot of mess.
We always begin with a trip to the library – there are plenty of fantastic children’s arts and crafts books available, and many of them have a focus on easy, low-mess projects.
This article contains affiliate links to items that may help you in homeschooling.
Pinterest is another great resource. Just be sure to actually DO some of the activities you save (I’m not the only great-idea collector, right?).
After all that, are you feeling brave enough to take on a challenge? We did a 30-day creativity challenge recently and recorded it, so you can do it too! And it’s free.
We did a creative activity each day, following a Skillshare tutorial. We chose tutorials that had clear and easy instructions and produced a great result quickly. We hadn’t been doing a lot of arts and crafts, but after the challenge the entire family has been painting, papercrafting, cooking, and drawing – it was a fantastic kick-start for us.
Hopefully, this has encouraged you to add more arts and crafts to your homeschool. Even if you keep it low-mess and low-stress, you’ll still see the benefits and improve your child’s skills with fun and interesting activities.