Why can’t reindeers be blue? Make Christmas crafts about enjoyment rather than the end product.
Annie Tierney, Head of Operations, speaks about how easy it is for us to lose sight of what is important for the child when making Christmas crafts, and focus too much on creating something for the parents or a display board. When we do this, we are only thinking about the end product and not on the child’s creativity, imagination and the benefits which they gain through being able to freely be involved in arts, crafts and creative activities.
As we start to enter the festive period there will be more and more pressure on practitioners and children to start making Christmas craft to send home. Calendars, Christmas cards and crafty gifts. After working in the Early Years sector for 25 years, I cannot pretend that in my time I haven’t had an activity laid out, pre-cut with an example for children to follow. I have also definitely dipped babies’ feet or hands in paint to create a reindeer for the front of a Christmas card.
I now must question why I did this. Over the years, as I learnt more about children, early years nurseries and different childcare theories, I realised that we were focusing on what we wanted the end product to look like – the perfect snowman card – rather than focusing on the child. I now make it my mission to work with our Kindred teams to get them to focus on the enjoyment, imagination, and the process over the product, especially around Christmas time.
Focus on learning and development
It is easy for us to lose sight of what is important for the child, and to focus on creating something for the parents or a display board. When we do this, we are only thinking about the end product, the reindeer footprint card and not on the child’s creativity, imagination and the benefits they gain through being able to freely be involved in arts, crafts and creative activities.
At Kindred we will be ditching the ‘craptivities’ and asking staff to focus on the child. We will be looking at their learning, development and next steps which in turn will help the child to extend their current knowledge of the world around them.
This year, we won’t be calling a child to the craft area to make a card for Mummy and Daddy with strict instructions from the key worker to ‘glue two cotton wool balls on green card – in exactly the right places to make a snowman’. We will actually be teaching the child about winter, snow, building a snowman and then allow them to create a card, picture, piece of 3D art with their version of a snowman on it? Remember, it may not look like our interpretation of a snowman, but who cares as long as the child has enjoyed and learnt from the process and is proud of their achievement and has a sense of accomplishment.
This year, we want your child to come home bubbling with excitement about the activities they have done that day, rather than a bag of festive arts and crafts. Our focus is to ensure they had a great time through the process and not creating the end product which we so often expect and desire.
Over the next month we will be continuing to ditch templates and give our children complete creative freedom to either enjoy the imaginative process or create an end product that is theirs. This will be unique and individual, one of a kind just like other great artists work such as Van Gough or Pablo Picasso.
We will also not dictate to children what something should look like. Why can’t a reindeer be blue with a green tail? We need to let go of our vision or perfect image and give children all the tools and equipment they need to be creative, imaginative and have complete freedom of what their masterpiece will look like.