- Craft supplies, such as paper, crayons and glue
- Art samples
- Musical instruments
- Music player, such as an iPod or CD player
- Musical selections, such as classical and bluegrass
Exposure to arts and crafts at a young age promotes healthy brain activity. Andrea Mulder-Slater, cocreator of KinderArt.com, states that the arts offer children the necessary tools for "understanding human experience, adapting to and respecting others’ ways of working and thinking, developing creative problem-solving skills and communicating thoughts and ideas in a variety of ways." Arts education is beneficial to children of all ages, and encompasses a wide range of curriculum including visual arts, music, drama and dance.
Distribute craft supplies and encourage children to draw pictures. Possible subjects include self-portraits, animals, or items found on a beach. Drawing builds recognition of geometric shapes and measurements and strengthens reading and writing skills.
Show art samples to the children and discuss each picture. Ask the children questions about each piece, such as, "How are these pictures similar to one another? How are they different? What do you like most about each picture? What do you dislike?"
Take children to an art museum. Explore and discuss the exhibits.
Distribute musical instruments to the children. Have the kids take turns playing the instruments, exploring the different sounds each one makes and comparing how each instrument is played.
Play varied musical selections and compare and contrast the different styles. Have children dance to the rhythm of the music and discuss how their movements change as the style of music changes.
Play the game Musical Chairs. Games like this one cause children to become active participants, which enhances their comprehension of the subject. Musical Chairs also strengthens listening skills.
Assign each child an animal to pretend to be, or have the children pick their own animal. Encourage the kids to act like that animal. Instruct them to move and make sounds like that animal. Ask the children to interact with one another as their animals.
Make puppets with the children and put on a puppet show. This activity combines visual arts and drama.
Take the children to an age-appropriate play, such as a children’s musical. After the show, discuss the content of the play with the children. Inquire what parts they liked most and what parts they liked least.
Instruct each child to say his name followed by a movement, such as jumping in the air or spinning in a circle. Have all the other children repeat the child’s name and movement. This is an ideal activity for the first day of school in a classroom setting, because it enables the students to learn each other’s names while allowing each child the opportunity to express himself.
Teach different styles of dance, such as the salsa and square dance. Play music to correspond with each style. Allow the children to take turns performing solo.
Let the children take turns making up their own movements while the others play musical instruments as accompaniment.
The list of possible arts and crafts activities is virtually endless. Numerous online resources are available to aid teachers and parents in arts education.
Parents should actively participate in their child's artistic endeavors. Exposure to such activities outside of the classroom enhances the child's learning and development.
Be supportive and encourage children in their artistic activities. Positive feedback promotes self-confidence.