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How Do I Choose the Best Crafts for Preschool?

By Kelly Ferguson
Updated May 17, 2024
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Many teachers use crafts for preschool children to ignite some creativity and provide safe entertainment throughout the day. Appropriate crafts for preschool children to do might include coloring pages, cutting and gluing simple shapes from construction paper to form patterns, or finger-painting with nontoxic, washable paints. Some children will be drawn more to certain activities than others, so it is a good idea to rotate the kinds of projects the children will be doing so everyone is exposed to various arts and crafts experiences. Additionally, while the point of crafts for preschool children seems like fun and self-expression, possible safety hazards should never be overlooked.

When coming up with crafts for preschool, keep in mind the ages of all of the children. If some of the children are older, they may be able to easily manipulate scissors and other objects, but the younger children will struggle. Ideally, keep any objects involved large and sturdy enough for small children to hold. Even then, some of the children may need help cutting paper into shapes or gluing objects together properly. Keeping objects fairly large will also help prevent accidental swallowing of craft materials by some of the children.

Crafts for preschool children should also be fairly simple to complete. Having a few steps or objectives to complete during an art project can help children learn to follow step-by-step directions to achieve a goal. If the instructions are too complicated for preschool children, however, they are likely to get frustrated and lose interest or give up. Using bold, bright colors instead of more muted colors such as pastels should also help keep preschool children interested in the project.

Always use child-safe equipment when having preschool children do crafts or art projects. Nontoxic paint, glue, and markers are extremely important in case a child swallows some of the supplies. Blunt-nosed "safety" scissors are also imperative if the children will be cutting paper or other materials on their own. Even if the teacher will be doing all of the cutting for the class, it is still very important to make sure the scissors are blunted safety scissors in case one of the children tries to use the scissors while the teacher's back is turned. Keep in mind that children can be creative in unexpected ways because their minds do not yet work like adult minds, and therefore, they may be able to find danger in unexpected places.

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Discussion Comments
By matthewc23 — On Jan 24, 2012

Good point about keeping the scissors in a safe place. I have found through my experience that kids like the emulate what they see adults doing.

They don't really understand why or how scissors cut, or how the edges might be sharp. They just see you being able to cut out straight lines with them and want to try the same thing.

Even with the blunt school scissors, it is still a good idea to keep them away from kids. Even though the tips aren't sharp, the inside is just about as sharp as a regular pair of scissors. That's not to mention that little preschool kids like that aren't very coordinated yet. I have even seen older kids that got in a hurry cutting up a piece of paper and weren't paying attention to where their fingers were underneath the paper and ended up cutting themselves.

By jcraig — On Jan 23, 2012

I don't remember much about preschool, but I do remember doing a lot of finger painting. It seemed like a couple times a week we got set down to do that. I always like drawing and painting and stuff, so it was always one of my favorite times. I remember at home, too, I had a little easel that I could use my finger paints on.

I guess it is this way for almost every grade, but I know we had a different activity for every holiday. I think my favorite was usually the Halloween activities.

I don't know what some good Halloween crafts for preschoolers would be, since it has been so long. I figure one thing you could do is just cut out a piece of construction paper in the shape of a pumpkin and let the kids draw on their own faces with a black crayon. You could give them a variety of black face pieces of construction paper and let them glue those on, too.

By stl156 — On Jan 23, 2012

@jmc88 - From my experience with kids, I can tell you that the things that they usually like the best involve lots of touching and hands on things. Projects that have a lot of color are also good at keeping their attention.

Something you might want to do is go to a dollar store or Wal-Mart or somewhere and buy a bag of little craft pieces that are usually made for kids' crafts. The bags usually have a lot of little foam shapes, some of the little plastic eyes that roll around, and other random things depending on where you get them. You can use the stuff in there for tons of different preschool activities. Like the article says, though, just keep an eye out to make sure none of the pieces end up in here mouth.

As far as gluing goes, I think it really depends on the kid. A girl would probably be a little more conservative with it, but maybe show her how to use it and explain not to use too much and then just keep an eye out and help when necessary.

By jmc88 — On Jan 22, 2012

Does anyone know of any good specific crafts for preschoolers? I have just started babysitting for my aunt and uncle's daughter, and she just started preschool this year. I remember some of the things I did when I was in kindergarten and first grade, but I think they might be too complicated.

If it helps, she really likes to draw, so anything involving coloring would probably go over well. I'm just not really sure what other things might be good to try.

Also, can preschoolers really use glue on their own? It seems like that could really get messy, but maybe I just don't have a good idea of what types of things preschoolers can do. Either way, I would check with her parents, but I don't want to do something that will make a huge mess, since it might be hard to clean up and watch her at the same time.

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