Arts and Crafts

Young children like to express themselves using their imaginations in simple artistic activities. Basic media such as chalks, crayons, paper, and play dough are sufficient for the very young. Provide large sheets of paper or large blackboards, just a few colours, thick brushes, and lots of space. Let them have fun and show appreciation for their efforts with encouragement rather than corrections.

Be aware that the darker colours in most fingerpaints will stain clothing and take precautions. Some clay and modelling materials will stain hands and table surfaces, but these stains generally wash away with soap and water. 

When buying art materials for young children, look for an indication on the packaging that the product is non-toxic. Toxicity poses a greater threat to youngsters, who frequently chew their crayons and lick paint from their fingers. In particular, look for the CP (certified product) or AP (approved product) seal; these mean that the product has been certified by experts not to contain materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious, either in the short term or with extended use. These seals give an extra measure of assurance to the safety conscious consumer. When introducing your children to markers, remember to teach them the safety rule not to put the caps in their mouths. 

When choosing a craft kit for a child, keep in mind the following: it should present a challenge and give a satisfying result; sufficient materials should be provided to complete the project; and, instructions should be clear and easily understood. A child's introductory craft experience could be the beginning of a long-term interest.

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