6 Benefits of Adding A Craft Activity To Your Elementary Classroom

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If you’ve ever thought about adding a craft activity or art project to your classroom lessons, you’re not alone. I’ve been there too. I started slowly, but over time, I have created an academically based, art loving classroom experience my students truly enjoy. What I’ve learned throughout my journey is that by using a variety of arts and crafts projects, your students’ education will be positively impacted on many different levels.

This image features the words "6 Benefits of Adding Craft Activities to Your Classroom" and an image of elementary aged students completing a craft activity using craft supplies like scissors, paint and construction paper.

When I was growing up, our lessons were filled with teacher lectures and lots of textbook reading. Oh, and we can’t forget the infamous “answer the questions at the end of chapter” assignment. And yes, this was at the elementary level. Let’s just say student engagement and hands-on learning were not what they are today.

On the other hand, when your students are actively involved in the learning process, their curiosity is heightened, their focus increases and they are invested in the learning process. Incorporating crafting activities provides an excellent opportunity for your students to engage in hands-on learning. This is where your students can apply what you’ve taught them, develop problem-solving skills, and unleash their inner creativity. Let’s dive into some of the amazing benefits that crafts have to offer our students in the classroom.

The Benefits of a Craft Activity

1. Integrated Learning

In this photo, lower elementary students are painting pumpkins in a classroom.

When you begin to incorporate craft activities, try to connect multiple subjects and/or skills in a meaningful and highly engaging way. I like using craft activities that provide a hands-on way for students to practice and apply new skills or knowledge across multiple subjects. For example, in my classroom, once we learned about the parts of a pumpkin, we would do a pumpkin painting project. Once painted (and dried) my students loved showing their learning of the different parts by labeling their artwork.

Here are just a few other arts and crafts ideas that you can integrate into your students’ lessons:

  • Painting – Promotes fine motor skill development, hand-eye coordination, creative expression
  • Collage Making – Supports learning of science, math, or reading concepts as well as critical thinking and sorting skills
  • Puppet Making – Supports character interaction and story development
  • Creating Origami Shapes – Supports geometry and 3D shape recognition

2. Problem Solving & Creativity

In this photo, young students are using wooden blocks to create structures.

One of my favorite things about my students engaging in craft activities is that they are actively practicing problem-solving skills. Problem-solving is a real-world skill that is important for children of all ages to learn and practice. Some of the problem-solving skills your students will activity partake in include critical thinking, analysis, decision-making, and adaptability.

Students also have the opportunity to exercise their creativity when completing arts and crafts. These skills can be applied to various academic subjects and real-life situations. Thus, making craft activities a versatile and engaging tool. Here are a few examples of how incorporating a craft activity can encourage these skills:

Building Structures: When building structures, I let my students use materials such as blocks, sticks, or even recycled matter. This way your students are challenged to think about balance, stability, and design. They need to problem-solve and make critical decisions to ensure that their structures are sturdy and functional while also showing off their creativity.

In this photo, a student is designing an invention using various craft supplies. She is wearing safety goggles and holding small parts of her project in her hand.

Designing Inventions: Inventing will require your students to think critically about a problem they want to solve and then come up with innovative solutions. They need to consider different materials, shapes, and functionalities to bring their ideas to life. This is a great way to incorporate science and math concepts that you’ve discussed with your students into craft projects.

Collaging: I have found that my students often enjoy collaging. Which, in turn, encourages critical thinking. For your littlest learners, collaging their favorite things, what they’ve learned, or about a specific topic is an enjoyable task and gives them a specific purpose.

#TeacherTip: When collaging with students in upper grades, you can go a bit more in-depth. For example, your students will need to reflect on their experiences and prior knowledge to make decisions. They will also need to decide how to organize and present their learning collage creatively. Students must consider the purpose, themes, layout, and storytelling techniques to express themselves effectively when making a collage.

3. Emotional Development

In this photo, a student can be seen enjoying a craft activity in the classroom. He has paint on his hands, and has his hands are placed on a piece of paper in order to make hand prints.

Did you know that using a craft activity in the classroom setting can help students to express and manage their emotions? That’s right, crafting tends to reduce stress and anxiety while also helping to promote self-expression. This all happens (usually) without your students even realizing it! How?

Well, crafting provides a non-verbal outlet for expressing emotions that may be difficult to communicate verbally (or consciously). It allows your students to explore and express a wide range of emotions, even when it is difficult for them to express using words.

Participating in a craft activity during school facilitates self-exploration and self-discovery. Allowing your students to understand their thoughts and feelings. Crafting and creating artwork also provides a sense of accomplishment and can boost self-esteem and self-confidence.

4. Academic Engagement and Performance

This image features a craft activity that integrates lower elementary math skills. Using a plan, students will design a gingerbread house by counting out how many of each object they need. Objects include things like windows, lollipops and marshmallows.

Integrating arts and crafts activities into your curriculum has been linked to increased academic achievement. I have found this to be true with my students, no matter the grade I was teaching! Crafting as a part of learning has helped to enhance their understanding and retention of key information while also heightening their critical thinking skills, and promoting collaborative learning.

My students LOVE to craft together and learn together. When my students have opportunities to express their creativity through art, they become more motivated and actively participate in the learning process.

5. Fine Motor Skills

This photo features spring themed cutting practice. Using this craft activity, students will improve fine motor skills by cutting out shapes like eggs, rabbits, and pots of gold.

As teachers, we understand the importance of fine motor control and creating a learning environment that supports the development of these skills. We also know that regular engagement in these types of activities can lead your students to improved hand and finger coordination, enhanced muscle strength, and refined motor control. All of these skills will support academic tasks like handwriting, hand-eye coordination, and the manipulation of small objects.

What kinds of fine motor activities do arts and crafts activities include?

Manipulating Materials: Give your students opportunities to cut, tear, fold, and glue materials such as paper, fabric, or clay. The manipulation of materials is a key piece of crafting in the classroom.

Using a Variety of Tools: Crafting often involves the use of various tools, such as scissors, paintbrushes, or glue sticks. Teaching your students how to hold and manipulate these tools properly helps them to to refine and improve their fine motor skills.

In this image, a student is cutting on dotted lines in order to improve cutting skills and strengthen hand muscles.

Strengthening Hand Muscles: Crafting exercises involve activities that strengthen hand muscles. For example, I like to have my students knead clay, cut with scissors, or use a hole punch to improve hand strength.

Promoting Bilateral Coordination: When your students are required to use both hands simultaneously or independently, it improves bilateral coordination. When your students engage in tasks like folding paper, cutting along a line, or threading beads, they develop better hand-to-eye coordination. It also enhances their ability to use both hands together effectively.

6. Listening Skills

This image shows a craft activity in which students will turn themselves into an elf. It can also be used alongside the writing template shown to write about what they would do if they were an elf.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish my students would listen more?” I’m sure I’m not the only one! By participating in crafting activities, your students will have the opportunity to practice and improve their listening skills. These listening skills are not only beneficial for the crafting process itself but also for everyday communication and classroom learning.

Some of the listening skills crafting supports are:

  • Following Instructions
  • Pay Attention to Detail
  • Be Collaborative and Communicative
  • Have Better Verbal Comprehension
  • Support Self-Regulation and Following Directions

Try a Free Writing Craft Activity With Your Students

Want to give crafting a try in your classroom? I find that writing is a great way to connect a craft to an academic lesson. Grab the freebie below and give these writing crafts a try in your classroom! Don’t forget to tag me on socials @TeachingInBlueJeans with photos of your experience!

Try a Craft Activity in Your Classroom

Ready to incorporate academic crafts in your classroom? I have a variety of fun and engaging resources that will help you to get started. Basic materials such as construction paper, glue, scissors, and markers are recurring supplies for the following activities.

With the resources below, you will be able to incorporate numerous craft activities into your classroom lessons that will not only enhance their learning experience but also provide a fun and interactive way to explore educational concepts.

Design a Gingerbread House is a measurement activity with a craft

Save these Ideas!

Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can quickly come back for more fun and engaging classroom ideas you can use with your students.

This image includes the text "6 Benefits of Craft Activities in the classroom" and a photo of a craft activity that students can use to practice scissor skills. Students can cut out and create crafts with spring themes line bunnies, eggs and a pot of gold.

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