The requirement of craft activities is not only perceived in the necessity for entertainment of children but also to ensure their cognitive development. The variety of craft activities which can be identified for various age groups of children can be presented as follows.
Children in this age group depict initial motor and sensory developments which imply that the most suitable craft activity for them would be vested in sensory activities. The example of such as sensory play activity can be identified in the outdoor sensory play. Outdoor sensory play is considered suitable for toddlers in the age group of 6-12 months as it can be incorporated in the everyday life of the child (Bath, 2013).
The simplicity of the craft activity could be considered as a notable feature for considering it as a suitable approach for children to learn craft. As per Clark (2017), the interaction with natural environment and various elements such as the grass in the backyard or the sand at the beach could not be considered very difficult and resource intensive (Clark, 2017). Parents could also implement improvements in the sensory play by working on the motor grasping skills of the children and can be presented in the example of stretching out a piece of grass towards the baby so that they could pick it from the parent’s hand.
The children in the age group of 1-2 years depict formidable improvement in cognitive skills albeit in the formative stages. However, this improvement can be capitalized on for determining the suitable craft activity for children in this age group. One of the most suitable craft activities for children of 1-2 years is finger painting. According to De Haan, Elbers & Leseman (2014), a description of the activity would suggest that it does not require substantial resource investments alongside being appealing to children (De Haan, Elbers & Leseman, 2014). In this activity, children are encouraged to create different patterns of finger painting that can be presented through use of various colours and painting them on a predefined layout according to their wish.
The resources required for this craft activity include a permanent marker, variety of coloured paint and a large sheet of paper. In the initial stages parents could draw lines using the permanent marker on the sheet of paper and when the child progresses, it is essential to encourage them to create their own lines and shapes for finger painting (De Marco, Zeisel & Odom, 2015). Furthermore, it is essential that children should be supported in the use of diverse colours for painting festive lights or novel patterns which would increase their involvement in the activity.
According to Francis, Granger & Susman, generally children in the age group of 2-5 years are inclined towards preparation for primary school and they are also characterized by formal development of cognitive and motor skills. Therefore, the craft activities for children in this age group should be aligned with educational implications that can help them in understanding the basics of education (Francis, Granger & Susman, 2013). The suitable craft activities for children of 2-5 years include measurement math centre activities. The activities involve the comparison of lengths of two or more objects and children could be provided with various objects.
The aim of the activity is to encourage students to recognize the length of the objects provided to them and arrange it in an orderly fashion. In this process, children compare the objects by placing them against each other (Goh, Bay & Chen, 2015). The diversity of objects that can be provided to children includes wooden sticks, crayons and support children in learning the various languages associated with measurement that increases their problem solving capabilities. The activities could also include the use of measurement scale for creating ordered patterns based on length of the objects that can be experimented upon frequently to obtain variable craft activity outcomes.
Craft activities are generally associated with the benefits of improvement in reasoning and cognitive capabilities thereby leading to promotion of creativity. However, the specific craft activities outlined in the above section with respect to children of varying age groups have distinct benefits of their own which can be illustrated as follows.
The sensory play activities for children in the age group of 6-12 months such as outdoor sensory play would be explicitly associated with the benefit of encouraging the child’s contact with natural environment. It would benefit children by learning the texture and appearance of various substances found in their natural environment (Kemp, et al., 2013). This factor would contribute to their cognitive development as they would be able to differentiate between the various natural elements on the basis of their perception of texture, colour or appearance.
The interactivity with natural environment favoured in outdoor sensory play is also responsible for improving the motor skills of children as they would be able to hold or grasp objects during the activity. In the long term, outdoor sensory play inhibits the probabilities for limited social competences in children owing to their familiarity with the surrounding environment and objects (Lambert, et al., 2014).
The activity of finger painting is considered suitable for children in the age group of 1-2 years since it reflects on the capabilities of children to develop an understanding of the pertinent task and approaches for addressing the tasks.
The foremost benefit could be ascertained from the development of abilities of children to recognize patterns and the use of colours. Not only does this factor promotes creativity but also provides initial development of decision making skills as they would be experimenting with various colours and the selection of colours for obtaining an appealing pattern. Furthermore, when the children are encouraged to design their own patterns for colouring it contributes to an improvement in their self confidence that can be accounted as a positive outcome (Livingstone, et al., 2014).
The benefits associated with the mathematics measurement activities are primarily vested in learning rather than in creativity except for specific scenarios. It is essential to consider that the activity involves educational implications especially in terms of comparing the lengths of objects (Mayesky, 2014). The use of measurement scales in the activity would also be reflective of additional knowledge regarding arrangement of numbers thereby relating the outcomes from the measurement activity in the learning activities of primary school.
Participation in the activity is also reflective of the implications towards anticipation of the language used in measurement attributes that would provide a basic impression of mathematical expressions used in comparing numbers such as ascending and descending order arrangements. The most notable benefit for learning of young children in this activity could be identified in the improvement of problem solving capabilities and competences for tackling challenges encountered in learning processes (Nikken & Schols, 2015). The children would be able to identify the problem at hand, resources available for problem solving and the approach needed for resolution of the problem that can also contribute to improvement in reasoning capabilities which can be leveraged by them to solve problems encountered in real life. The activity also encourages children by placing a definitive challenge thereby motivating them for overcoming challenges.
Craft activities could be accounted as an amiable approach for engaging children in the development of cognitive skills as well as motor skills. However, it is essential to focus on the health and safety risk associated with craft activities that can be prominently observed in examples of unsafe materials used in the activities (Schaub, 2015). The health and safety risks that should be considered prior to the provision of activity for young children of different age groups can be illustrated as follows.
As per Sullivan, Elkin & Bers (2015), the activity of outdoor sensory play for children in the age group of 6-12 months is largely associated with health and safety risks from elements in the environment and concerns of accidental ingestion of materials. Generally outdoor sensory play involves the interaction of children with natural environment (Sullivan, Elkin & Bers, 2015). So it is essential to observe the safety risks such as accidental ingestion of sand at the beach or an insect wound while playing in the grass. Furthermore, natural elements such as sunlight and wind could be identified as safety risks in the outdoor sensory play activity. Lack of protection from these elements could be responsible for detrimental consequences for safety of children.
In the activity of finger painting for children in the age group 1-2 years, the most prominent health and safety risk could be identified in paint colours used for the activity. The paint colours could comprise of harmful chemicals that can lead to physical damage to the children. Inhalation risks are prominent as dust is generated from working with paint pigments and fumes which could be generated from certain kinds of oil paints that are used for finger painting. Since the children are encouraged to use their bare fingers for painting, it could lead to the risk of allergic reactions to chemicals used in the paints.
Children are also sensitive to irritation in their air passages which increases the level of health and safety risk in finger painting activities. It could also be observed that children in this age group are more likely to spill supplies and there are chances of them putting their fingers in the mouth due to natural tendencies or curiosity. This could be particularly dangerous for children especially when they are in contact with the painting materials. The sensitivity of children to these chemical reactions is higher as compared to adults which makes them vulnerable to health risks from ingestion of paints (Vasquez, 2014).
The mathematical measurement activity presents general health and safety risks for young children among which the vulnerability and fickleness of children could the cause for health and safety risks. The materials used in the activity could be used by children for harming other children participating in the activity and curiousness of children could also lead to prominent safety risks such as lodging of the materials in body parts such as ears and nose. The safety risk associated with measurement activities could also be determined from the psychological variations in young children such as irritability upon failure to accomplish desired results. The irritability could lead to violent behaviour on the part of children thereby presenting safety risks at the site of the activity.
Now that the individual health and safety risks are identified for the different activities considered for children of various age groups, it is imperative to fabricate a plan for monitoring and addressing the risks. One of the most significant factors to be considered while dealing with risks of craft activities for young children is the difference in age and cognitive development in accordance with age (Williams, 2013).
The case of outdoor sensory play implemented as a craft activity for children in the age group of 6-12 months indicates explicit risks from the natural environment. Therefore, parents or supervisors of such activity have to be vigilant at all times to ensure that the child does not ingest any unwanted material such as insects or sand.
As per Sullivan, Elkin & Bers (2015), the use of protective equipment such as blankets and sunglasses for children could be assumed as prolific measures for addressing the pertinent health and safety risks in outdoor sensory play activities (Sullivan, Elkin & Bers, 2015). Furthermore, the use of umbrellas for creating shade and enclosures could also be implemented for dealing with the risks from sunlight and wind. It can be observed clearly that dealing with risks in outdoor sensory play is completely vested in the responsibilities of the parent or supervisor with limited prospects for the involvement of the children in risk protection.
The measures for addressing health and safety risks in the finger painting craft activity for 1-2 years old children would be reflective of various considerations. First of all, the painting colours that are used in the activity should be certified for safe use by children that would imply safety from chemical risks. The colours should not be characterized by delectable scent such as artificial fruit flavours which could lead children to ingest the paint. The children should be instructed properly about the use of painting materials as well as procedures for cleaning up after completion of the activity.
The activity site should be cleaned by wiping the paint on the floor in order to reduce the probabilities for ingestion of chemicals. The activity supervisors should also ensure that eating areas shall be distant from the activity site in order to limit the probabilities of accidental ingestion of colours. Children should be provided with limited amount of painting materials that can substantially reduce the possible impact of the chemicals on health and safety of the children. Another notable measure for dealing with health and safety risks during the finger painting activity is to improve the ventilation of the activity site thereby reducing the probabilities for damage due to inhalation of chemical fumes from the paints.
The common precedent for dealing with health and safety risks in the measurement craft activity for children in the age group of 2-5 years is instruction and consultation. The requirement of consistent supervision is perceived in this case as parents or the supervisors have to be on the watch for recognizing abnormal behaviour from certain participants and the reason for the behaviour.
The materials used in the activity should not comprise of sharp objects such as sticks or pencils that can cause detrimental outcomes if lodged in any body part. The children must be encouraged to communicate with their peers as well as parents regarding their progress which would reduce the chances of irritability. Protective equipment and safety instructions can be considered as the general imperatives that must be implemented for addressing the risks in mathematical measurement craft activity.
As identified from the illustrations presented above in the assessment, it is clearly observed that while craft activities provide credible avenues for children to explore their skills and develop them for the future they are also reflective of detrimental health and safety risks. The responsibility for addressing these risks is largely vested in parents or the activity supervisor. However, it is also essential to include the young children in processes for resolving the health and safety concerns through provision of adequate support (Livingstone, et al., 2014).
The element of supervision is the foremost support for young children during the activities which imply that the children would be consistently aware of the presence of the supervisor thereby refraining from risky ventures during the activity. Another productive approach for supporting young children with respect to health and safety in craft activities is information which can be facilitated through the use of creative visual aids such as comic strips.
These elements would help the children in improving their understanding of the activity and the nature of materials as well as their impact on the human body. For example, a comic strip depicting the case of abnormalities upon ingestion of paint could be accounted as an interactive approach for informing children about the harmful effects of consuming paint colours. Furthermore, the support for children should be extended in the form of communication especially in the case of older children (Francis, Granger & Susman, 2013).
Communication with children improves their confidence while carrying out craft activities alongside raising their confidence as safeguards of their own safety. The children should be consistently encouraged to develop a friendly attitude towards other children at the activity site thereby reducing the concerns for conflicts that can lead to harmful safety risks. Supervisors could also communicate frequently with parents in order to identify the reasons for specific behaviours of children and tailoring the craft activities accordingly that would support a child for participating in craft activities without the probabilities for detrimental health and safety consequences.
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