How do you choose great art & craft toys?
When you’re choosing creative materials and tools for children, pay attention to the age ranges. Although it may be safe for children under three to use, it may not be developmentally appropriate, which will lead to frustration, and an unwillingness to try the activity. It’s also important to look at the safety aspects of the toy – safety scissors are a good example!
Always buy a reputable brand – look for non-toxic craft materials that are safe if your child ‘accidentally’ eats it. Finger paints just look so yummy!
Take all the usual precautions that you would when you’re buying toys – make sure they are BPA free, PVC free, lead-free and phthalate free. If you’re buying jewellery kits, make especially sure there’s no lead or nickel, as children’s jewellery is notorious for these contaminants.
What are the benefits of playing with art & craft?
There are so many benefits for children when they play with art and craft toys. They may look like they’re having fun, but they’re really learning all sorts of essential pre-school skills that will help them with writing, reading and using their creative abilities.
Just the words ‘finger painting’ brings back memories of early artistic endeavours! Toddlers love to get messy, they love the bright colours, and they just love to express themselves on paper. You’ll be proudly presented with a smear of colours that you somehow have to translate to ‘that’s the day that you, me and daddy went on a picnic and the dog chased the ducks.’
As a way for children to express their creativity, finger paints are second to none. Make sure that you choose non-toxic paints, because you just know that they’ll be taste tested.
Oh, and make sure they wear a smock
Chunky crayons are a great way to get little fingers ready for writing. It helps to develop muscles in their hands and get those fine motor skills working.
Even if your toddler looks like they're just scribbling, they're developing their creativity by choosing colours and seeing how they can make swirls on the paper.
Of course, the trick is keeping the drawings just on paper, and not on walls or furniture. Supervise your child, and make sure that you put crayons out of reach when they're done.
Face Paints and Play Makeup
Face paints and play makeup can be a great way for children to develop their creativity. Just make sure that the face paints and play makeup that you choose is natural and non-toxic, of course!
We love the No Nasties
range because it's all natural, and also because it washes off with soap and water. No need to scrub little faces when they've been having a great time being a fairy princess, a butterfly or a superhero.
Stringing beads together is a great way for children to develop hand-eye coordination and to develop strength in their hands, which is essential for learning to write.
Copying patterns is great for early mathematical skills, making patterns is great for developing creativity. Some of the bead sets have letters, which helps to develop reading and writing skills. All this from some wooden beads and string!
Most children love to make necklaces for dress ups, too, and it's a great rainy day activity for when you're forced to stay inside by inclement weather. And once they're done with making the beads, they can have fun sorting them all back into the boxes and developing even more essential pre-school skills.
An activity centre like this one from Im Toy
can be a great way to get children using their creativity. This toy has a chalkboard, a whiteboard and a roll of paper for drawing, painting and imagination.
There's also an abacus, a clock, a bead maze and an alphabet set in case they want to do different activities.
There are loads of different art and craft activities for children to choose from. We've given you a sample of some of the creative toys we have here at Hello Charlie. See more of our great art & craft toys here
. Happy creating!
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