4 ways to cultivate creativity through crafting

Charlotte Baldwin

Charlotte Baldwin is the operational manager for IQ cards. She is an active member of her son’s PTA and understands the importance of school fundraising. She now runs IQ cards and as part of the on-demand print and digital solutions provider The IQ Digital House, ensuring that all requirements and products are produced to the highest standards, delivered on time and at great value prices.

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Image credit: Flickr // kidschalkartproject. Image credit: Flickr // kidschalkartproject.

Art has the benefit of being not only enjoyable and relaxing, but of encouraging personal reflection, expression and growth. With this in mind, how can we nurture creativity across the curriculum using artistic methods? You may be surprised where and how often art can be made a feature of a lesson. Here are some school crafting ideas that allow children to enjoy all of the benefits of arts and crafts.

1. Biology

The sciences are a great way to implement art into learning, especially biology, thanks to how frequently diagrams are used. Most body parts and functions can be learned about and demonstrated by making models from a variety of materials. 3D sculptures of the brain can be made and labelled before revising the functions of the various lobes, while a model of the digestive system - complete with ‘food’ to travel through it - will familiarise children with the internal organs and their jobs. Groups can be responsible for making one organ each, before joining them together to complete the working system.

2. Classical Art

Picasso said that “every child is an artist - the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. Encouraging children to take inspiration from the work of others and make it their own through interpretation is a huge leap in the direction of retaining artists into later life. When it comes to educating children about classic artists such as Van Gogh or Klimt, do not simply have them copy one of the works to the best of their abilities. Take time to discuss the meaning these artists put into their pictures, how to interpret use of colour and shapes, and allow children to use this knowledge to express themselves.

3. Astronomy

The structure and varying atmospheres of the planets in the solar system can be better demonstrated practically. Russian doll-style models of the layers of each planet – decorated and labelled with their name and function – are a creative and informative way of learning about space. Make a group project out of the constellations by dividing a map of the night sky and allocating each child a section. Then have them map out the stars on dark paper and make holes in place of each star, before joining the pieces together and sticking them over the classroom windows, to simulate stargazing.

4. Culture

World cultures are a vast tapestry of creative inspiration. They not only expand imagination and educate on the sheer variety of the planet, but offer another great opportunity to take inspiration from a source and make it one’s own. Many cultures have distinguishing visual features, making them perfect for interpretative artwork. Explore and discuss the styles and customs of a particular culture, then invite children to use these influences to design something. Perhaps a costume, or a way of decorating a room. Ask them to write or explain why they chose these particular features, what they feel it represents, and the feelings they were trying to express with their own work.

These are only a handful of ideas of how to get children embracing everything that art has to offer in the classroom, and it should help you start to come up with new ways of combining crafts with the curriculum. But whatever you end up doing, try not to lose the element of freedom from the activity, as that is the main asset that art provides in an otherwise contained structure. It’s about more than making less palatable subjects fun to younger students, and should be assigned with the aim to let children explore subjects in their own ways. For further ideas, I recommend:

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