It is the dreaded moment of the week: the dropping-my-son-off-at-Sunday-school moment. All is going well until the teacher meets us at the door, bends to my son’s level, and makes the mistake.
“Good morning, it’s so good to see you! Come on in and color with us!”
My son’s face contorts as he begins to cry and clings to my leg. He hates coloring. His idea of coloring is dashing one line across the page so he will be freed from this awful task in order to do something more productive.
Fast forward to another class, another teacher.
“Good morning, it’s so good to see you! Are you ready to play with the Playdoh?”
Now my son lights up as he runs over to the activity table, eager to dig his hands into the homemade colored dough. What a great teacher!
I consider myself resourceful but not particularly crafty creative. But I have learned with developmentally-delayed children that many of the crafty activities kids do serve a purpose of encouraging fine motor skills, coordination, spatial awareness, attention span, writing and scissors skills, and more. This being the case, I have been faced with the question: How do I work on these skills with boys who are not so interested?
Enter Boy Crafts.
First, coloring pages with themes like robots, aliens, cars, and superheroes may go over better than other themes, and you can find most anything free online. We went through a phase in our family when all the kids colored mouse robots traced from a kindergarten math workbook. I’m pretty sure they colored mouse robots in the triple digits, and their writing skills improved in the process! It was the first time above said son showed any interest at all in writing or coloring. A second take on coloring is an individual sized dry erase board with colored dry erase markers, which has been a hit in our home.
Next, adapt “normal” crafts to a boy’s interest. Just today my three elementary age boys made dirt bike puppets. The oldest drew a dirt bike from a how-to-draw library book, made photocopies, and helped the younger boys color them, cut them out, and glue them to popsicle sticks. By the way, that was their idea, not mine.
Dough is still a go-to. Hands-on, kinesthetic, sensory stimulating, builds hand strength, encourages imagination. This might be Playdoh, but it can also be bread dough or cookie dough. Just have the kids wash their hands first and then dig in to mix and knead.
And my final standby: Legos and other building toys. It may not be a traditional craft, but it again encourages imagination and works fine motor and problem solving skills.
If your child is not interested in crafty activities, think outside the box a little to find alternatives to encourage fine motor development and imagination. It could be as simple as adapting an activity or giving him more time with certain toys. If you are concerned that some of his skills may be delayed, talk to your pediatrician for other ideas or assessment. While most children will naturally progress through developmental milestones, some will need extra help, and the earlier you can get started, the better.
What creative activities do you do with your boys?