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Toy of the week: Arts and Crafts

 

 

Week 2 of Quarantine and some of us are already bored of solving puzzles. We need a more creative activity to do now! Here are 7 ways to keep you and your children occupied with some Artsy Ideas!

Art is a source of beauty and expression. It is a great way to stimulate your imagination and creativity. Artists get to create new things but they also become more observant of the world around them because creating art helps you focus on details that you wouldn't normally pay attention to. 

Art also teaches you to become better problem solver. Why and how you ask? Well, you start to think outside the box, if you will, and by creating art you rewire your brain to see that there are multiple solutions to a certain problem sometimes. Art encourages open-ended thinking that creates an environment of creative thinking in problem solving.

Art can boosts your self-esteem and provides a sense of accomplishment, as well. In times where you might feel like you are losing control of your life, it's nice to think that creating something artistic can help you put yourself back on track. You will be able to look at your finished product with pride and tell yourself "look I did that!" Here are some ideas to make you feel better during these trying times. 

1. Painting/Colouring

 

Now, you can go for your basics: simple crayons, markers, pens, glitter and paper. That's always a fun way to pass the time and use your imagination. Draw rainbows to show your support with the rest of the world, get messy with finger paints (that's my favourite), draw amazing characters (you know what I'm talking about: anime, pokemon, animals, family, or even make up your own character!). I mean you could stimulate your imagination to the fullest by creating your own beautiful drawings. But what if you just want to relax?

You can always paint by number! What an excellent way to relieve stress! Colouring certainly helped me during this isolation time by keeping me focused on a task and concentrating on finishing it. We understand that everyone is worried but it's important to take a little "Me Time" and relax, unwind and just colour! Just like puzzles, paint by number makes you follow certain patterns which in turn makes your brain go into a meditative state and just makes you feel good. And in the end, you have a beautiful finished product!

2. Paper Weaving

 

Here is something not many of us see very often! Paper weaving is quite intricate and helps a lot with fine motor development. Gripping a paintbrush, drawing dots and lines, mixing colours, cutting with scissors, controlling a glue stick or squeezing a glue bottle, kneading and rolling play-dough, tearing paper, and weaving are all tasks that require increasing amounts of dexterity and coordination, yet they are so fun and rewarding that children want to do them over and over. As kids engage in art activities over time, their fine motor skills improve.

3. Sewing

I guess the new fashion of 2020 is about to turn to mask making soon. So here's your chance to get some machines for in house mask making! It's a great idea to help those in the front lines as well as stay occupied and creative from home! Show us what you got! Plus it's great for hand-eye coordination.

Fun fact: Did you know that some birds also know how to sew? It's true, the Tailor Bird actually sews it's nest with leaves and fibers. So if a bird can sew, so can you!

4. Lacing

 

It's true that art encourages fine motor skills, neural development, and problem-solving abilities and that it can be used effectively to teach and understand other key subjects such as reading, writing, math, and science. With lacing, you help your child develop some basic life skills like tying their shoe laces and making bows. Get down with some pattern making as well with this Lacing kit

5. Origami/Kirigami

 

 

Origami is the art of paper folding. The word Origami comes from the Japanese words "oru", which means "to fold", and "kami" meaning "paper". Did you know that, paper was first invented in China around 105 A.D., and was brought to Japan by monks in the sixth century? The Japanese mastered the art of folding paper and brought it to the rest of the world for us to enjoy.

It's important to teach and give children the opportunity to use different artistic technics. And the more experience children have with a variety of materials and techniques, the more likely they are to try new combinations and ideas. 

Today, origami has expanded to incorporate advanced mathematical theories. So much so, that scientists are using Origami technics in Space! NASA (Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California) is actually using the art of origami to fit large sunflower-shape mechanism, Starshade, onto their spaceships, at launch, which will then unfold up to massive sized mechanisms (that looks like a pretty sunflower), once launched in outer space by the rocket. You can follow their instructions on how to make their design using a piece of paper here! This design is compacted using what's known as an iris-folding pattern and by using the origami-inspired folding pattern, NASA's team can make the Starshade more durable, though still compact enough that it can launch to space and fold smoothly, predictably and repeatedly. This will help scientists locate small planets in other solar systems by blocking the light of their nearby suns/stars in order for our telescopes to locate and photograph them and will also give our scientists a better understanding of dark matter/energy. But there are so much more origami inspired science projects in the works all around the world. It's amazing how art can influence, inspire and help advance our technology

Kirigami is similar to origami, in that it is a form of paper art. The major difference is that in Origami, you fold paper whereas in Kirigami, you fold and cut paper. The word Kirigami comes from the Japanese words "kiru”, meaning "to cut", and “kami” which means "paper". So, kirigami means to cut paper! You've probably already have done a form of kirigami in the past. Do you remember cutting out a white piece of paper in the shape of snowflakes? Well that's Kirigami! 

With these Origami and Kirigami kits there are so many patterns, designs and animals that you can create a home with just a simple piece of paper!

6. Slime

 

Art is an activity that can employ all the senses—sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste—depending on the activity. Children’s brain synapses fire away as they experiment and create, squishing paint and slime between their fingers, mixing colors and materials, or drawing from imagination or what they see in front of them. This, in turn, forms new neurons in the brain that associate the different senses together. 

7. Sock Puppets

 

 

Art helps kids connect with the real world, in their own way. It also helps us connect as a world and as a community because it is an equalizer, helping create a common ground for people who don’t know each other and who may or may not be interested in the same things. It can help people of all ages, races, abilities, and even languages engage in a shared (and generally mutually loved) activity. Just like the rainbow trend which started in Italy and got picked up all around the world. Art is a way to bring all of us together especially in trying times. 

Art allows children to process their world and to deal with sometimes scary emotions in a multidimensional way, meaning in a way that words may not be able to do. Feelings and ideas can be reduced to a manageable size and manipulated as desired. Since children absorb incredible amounts of new information, they need to process what they have learned in a safe and reflective way. We are in a difficult time and trying to explain that to a child might be even harder for some of us. Using an artistic way, such as sock puppet, you can allow the child to explore feelings and deal with both daily and significant events in a fun and creative way. 

While children tell us that art is fun, and an activity they enjoy, parents will tell us that art is vital to their families because it keeps everyone engaged and happy which helps with the sometimes difficult transitions of the day. 

 

 

When we encourage our children to explore art, we encourage them to master themselves, their bodies, and a variety of tools and techniques. We give them many ways to express themselves. As parents and teachers, you can offer an environment where it is safe to experiment and create, where questions are encouraged and children have free access to the materials they need and enjoy. In doing so, you raise your children to be confident and comfortable with their creativity in whatever form in takes. Drawing, painting, weaving, folding, creating or molding objects from clay has been scientifically proven to help people to deal with different kinds of trauma. Don't let this Quarantine or self isolation period bring you down. Whenever you feel you need an emotional lift grab a brush, pencil, crayon, sock puppet and pick yourself back up again! Create your own happiness! And don't forget to Play Together and Play Forever!

 

 

By Joanna Felemegos 



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