As I watched my 12-year old intently work on his dinosaur model, I could see the same level of focus and concentration that I have seen in him during his younger days of crafting and working on projects we did together.
As he completes the different parts of the model, he likes to show the pieces around, share the difficulty he has had while working on that particular section. Overcoming the challenge of putting a tiny, almost inaccessible screw in place is his achievement for the day.
Crafting as experiential learning
Compare this to the crafting we do where you get two plastic pieces to stick together. For a young child, who is not very familiar with the various materials, this is a challenge: typically for the young ones, the standard gluestick is answer to all their sticking needs. Discovering that you can’t stick non-paper materials with glue is a learning for them, they enjoy figuring out that standard glue does not stick plastic, metals and fabric.
In my opinion, such experiential learning is a significant role that crafting plays in the mental growth of a child. As compared to art projects, where we encourage a child’s imagination without necessarily aiming for specific outcome; crafting projects help a child work on logic, analysis and encourage 3D visualizations among the young.
From vision to a complete model
Starting off with something on paper, hoping to make a house, or a toy or a model plane with materials available to them around the house is a great training for the young ones in thinking things through. Creating a vision as you start, and achieving that vision – creates a sense of fulfillment for the child. During the crafting projects, invite the child to figure out how the project should be crafted, what she thinks she should start with and how to get to the shapes you are aiming for. Often you will be surprised to see the young mind at work, trying, failing and trying again.
Don’t let your child walk away from an unfinished project
At the initial phases, some kids may find it frustrating to fail when things do not turn out the way they want them too. Do not let your child walk away from the project at this stage. Stay with her, guide her, give her suggestions and ideas that she can explore and eliminate; but find ways to help her stick with the project. As a parent and care-taker, remember starting a project is one thing, completing it is quite another.
When you start, you may want to give the child an idea of the process and how long the project will take to complete. This creates a ground work for the child to stay committed to the project and enjoy it along the way.
Explain the timelines to your young ones
If the project is a long one, you may consider doing it over a few days and accordingly plan out a fixed time of day to work on the project. This planning from your side helps the child understand how to break down any project: crafting or academic, and tackle it in pieces.
Model Making: Crafting for the older children
I find it is the same learnings that we have used in our crafting projects in his younger days that my 12 year old brings to his model making. As I watch him work with the tiny pieces, I realized how much of a role crafting plays in helping train the young mind in logical thinking backed by creative leaps. Solving the roadblocks he hits as he works on his models, approaching the same issue from another angle, creating a beautiful model from little pieces of metal… to me, this was crafting for the grown-ups.
As he works on the model, I look forward to sharing his progress in this space. If you feel model making is completely different from the crafting process, or you agree with this post, and would like to share your own insights, kindly leave your comments below.
~ Donut Art & Craft Kits