Educational and Empowering Craft for Little Ones
This collage craft set for little ones contains everything you need for a single child to work on a collage: an instruction booklet; one glue stick; four boards, each printed with a different simple animal form and colorful background; and four corresponding envelopes, sealed with a sticker of the completed collage project for easy identification. If more than one child is working at a time, you'll probably need more glue sticks.
The box itself is sturdy pressed cardboard. I mean, don't stand on it! But it's sturdier than a typical board game box, or box in which a mail order would arrive. It's great for storing the finished projects or future craft/collage supplies.
The instructions booklet is primarily graphic, with numbers listed next to images of the decorations for each of the collages so that the crafter knows how many to expect. For kids on the older end of the recommended age spectrum (3-6 years) they could possibly handle this entire craft and instruction without adult assistance. My son is 3, and we found that laying out the supplies was an educational exercise. We were identifying like items, and moving from more abstract concepts of the written number and 2-dimensional images to the concrete and visual world of lining up the quantity of 3-dimensional, textured objects.
In placing the pieces on the board, he was also recognizing spatial relationships -- the cats socks needed to fit over its feet, and the paws couldn't be halfway up its arms, or he didn't like the way it looked. Yet the craft still had enough free pieces -- stars, polka dots, etc., that he was clearly having the opportunity to place things where he wanted to rather than being entirely restricted to recreating the design in the instruction booklet.
On his first try, my son required significant assistance with the craft to handle the glue stick and pieces. The pieces vary in size, thickness and texture, so the fine-motor challenge varies during the project stays interesting. By the time he worked on his final collage, he was working completely unaided except for the raffia whiskers, which even I found a little difficult to adhere.
My son enjoyed these collage projects far more than I had thought he would. He doesn't usually have much patience with coloring or painting. This seems to have been just the right combination of commitment, interest, art, building, and concentration to hold his interest. He never asked to do more than one, but in just over two weeks he had completed all four collages without my ever suggesting that he do one.
Children closer to six are going to gain something completely different from this activity than my 3-year-old. Older kids may enjoy having something to do that would not require any adult supervision -- those crafts can still be hard to come by for a 6-year-old. And the instructions really remind me of what we see when we buy furniture which we assemble ourselves, so there is a lesson in building and following instructions. It could also inspire them to do a little creative cutting and collaging of their own.
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