Any child that is in daycare or at kindergarten will bring home some sort of arts and craft at least once a week. We all know that arts and craft serve as a fun way for your child to develop their imagination and fine motor skills.
But, this fun learning opportunity is also a VITAL step in developing your child’s oral language and emergent literacy skills – two crucial skills that educators know must be well-established BEFORE your child starts formal education in Prep.
How to get started
Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that Australian households spent $250 million on arts and craft in 2011. Evidently families are spending money on arts and craft in their homes so why not use this as a vehicle to further drive your child’s language and literacy development.
It is important that you follow the child’s lead and talk about what they are doing. Arts and crafts should be fun, not the adult taking over and demanding that it be done in a certain way.
Using big words
Don’t hold back on using “big words” when discussing their artwork! It is good to expose your child to sophisticated words such as “design”, “produced” or “created” (instead of made); “completed” (instead of finished); primary and secondary colours; aqua, cyan, violet etc.
A variety of materials
Use lots of different materials such as pipe cleaners, glitter, foam objects, googly eyes, paddle pop sticks, uncooked pasta and rice etc. These items then lend themselves to different describing words about the textures such as hard, soft, flexible, straight, curved, furry, rough, smooth, shiny, dull, distinct, sparkling etc.
Describe the objects they have created by providing lots of information about that topic. For example, if your child made a pelican, you could refer to the category it belongs to, where you normally find it, and its unique features. For example, “I see you have made a pelican. That’s a type of bird. Pelicans usually live around water so they can find fish for their dinner. It has a long beak so that it can reach further and catch the fish below the water’s surface. It even has a long stretchy pouch as part of its beak so it can catch more fish at a time.”
Whenever you talk about letters, ensure you also say the letter sound. For example, “Pelican starts with the sound p-p-p-p. We write the letter “p” for the sound p-p-p-p”
So get into craft this weekend – your child will not only enjoy the time with you, they will also be learning! It just leads to one problem – where to store all of the masterpieces!
If you have any concerns about your child’s communication, seek help from a speech pathologist early. Contact TalkNQ Speech Pathology on 0467 239 554 or visit talknq.com.