One of our favourite quotes about creativity is by Maya Angelou, who famously said: "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." Watch children with scissors, felt, putty or paint in their hands and it's fascinating to see their unfolding imagination at work as well as their final creations!
Creating connections in the brain
Scientists are finding out more and more about the amazing plasticity of the human brain. We know that the average 2 year old's brain is already about 4/5 of its adult size and making lots of new neural connections. A year later, it's working twice as hard as an average adult's brain and pruning many connections to work more effectively, according to research by Save the Children.
If young kids' creativity is encouraged, this helps to build stronger neural connections, which in turn supports their physical and mental development. There's lots more about this in the BBC iWonder guide to arts and crafts, but the bottom line is "use it or lose it". When children are involved in crafts activities, they're creating a positive cycle of practice and reward, which helps them to think more imaginatively and feel happier too.
Learning new skills and interests
Joining in with craft activities can help even very shy children to interact with other, by distracting them from negative thoughts and reducing anxiety. In addition, small creative group work enables children to learn to take turns, share ideas and work collaboratively.
There are of course a huge amount of thriving local art and craft groups for kids, many of whom offer free trial sessions. And nationwide event Children's Art Week returns from 8 - 16 June 2019. It's aimed at getting families, children and young people to enjoy fun creative activities, so why note check out what's happening in your local area and maybe find an interesting new activity?
Improving resilience and mental health
Working on art and craft activities is a fun way for children to learn how to solve problems and build resilience to overcome obstacles. Research has also shown that crafting helps children to relax and can improved wellbeing, as mental health problems continue to rise in the UK. According to the Mental Health Foundation, about 1 in 10 children and young adults are now affected.
The Crafts Council's national Craft Club campaign encourages local communities to set up clubs running creative activities. These may benefits children whose schools have cut their arts and crafts budget, those struggling with social anxiety and mental health problems, and other members of the community who want to get involved in local crafting. MIND also has information about art and creative therapy sessions which can help some children with emotional and behavioural problems.
And finally ...
… remember that doing craft activities with children is a great opportunity to make memories that may last for years. Here's Kate's lovely godson busy making some more in the garden below!
If you're looking for inspiration for craft gifts for kids, there's plenty of ideas in Peach Perfect's Craft & Creative Collection. Why not try making a theatre in a box, building a 3D model spacecraft, jewellery designing or sewing for beginners? Or browse through the pages of our bestselling Boycraft book (girls love it too!). You'll find endless opportunities to inspire your children's creativity and provide them with essential skills to craft their future.