Spring Craft Ideas

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In the wake of the economic recession, schools are cutting funding for arts education. When forced to choose between the so-called hard subjects and the arts, administrators invariably snub the arts. The explanation is as simple as it is inexorable: testing. There are no state-mandated tests for art or music, but there are tests for math and science. And because salaries and careers are affected by the results of these tests, the fine arts are left to twist in the wind.

DIY Craft Essential #1: Washi tape

You'd be surprised at how many things you can do, and how many tutorials out there are obsessed, with washi tape. The versatile paper tape with adorable designs makes great wall decor, paper crafts or can even spruce up your furniture.

DIY Craft Essential #2: Needle nose pliers

This tiny tool is great for small projects. "This is not only your go­-to tool for opening and closing jump rings, bending wire, and securing crimp beads and ribbon ends, but pliers are also great for cutting through jewelry chain and wire," said Morin.

The irony of the situation is that these cuts have had little to no utility. In other words, the test numbers are not going up. In fact, they are on the decline. So, we may be cutting vital subjects and getting absolutely nothing in return. Worse yet, we are left with students who are less excited about learning and dread test taking.

There's a reason why art and music teachers are often the most popular educators in their schools. After hours of crunching numbers and going over their ABCs, kids need a break. That is not to say that art or music is easy. They're not. But they do stimulate different areas of the brain. Rather than memorizing and repeating, students can open up a bit and express themselves in creative ways.

You can't measure an open mind, which is one of the reasons why art programs are on the chopping block. But we do know that arts education has numerous benefits for young children. From an early age, kids are taught to express themselves verbally with words and terms that others can understand. The only problem is that this can lead to a kind of groupthink where everyone speaks and expresses themselves the same way. Art takes words out of the equation. It teaches kids that some things are simply ineffable. Rather than analyzing every little detail to death, they simply respond in a genuine and emotional way.

The Future of Arts and Crafts

The arts have never been in a more precarious position than they are today. Even in affluent school districts, art and music programs are being cut left and right. Parents typically protest at the outset, but then they succumb to the inevitable.

DIY Craft Essential #3: X-acto knife

If you love stationary crafts, jewelry crafts or any delicate work -- you'll need a proper cutting tool. Not all scissors can do the job. "Remember first using scissors and cutting along the dotted lines in grade school?" Morin asked. "Hopefully, you’re attempting more challenging crafts as an adults."

DIY Craft Essential #4: Spray paint

Acrylic paints are also great for any DIY starter kit. However, if you're looking for a perfect, seamless finish on your furniture, art and home decor -- make some space to spray. It doesn't hurt to keep some cans in your favorite colors (as long as you store them properly).

The one silver lining in an otherwise overcast sky is that more and more parents are teaching their children about art at home. And this is as it should be. After all, art appreciation traditionally began in the home. The Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th century was based on the idea that rote work (industrial labor) was stultifying and that people of all ages needed some relief. Millions of Americans from earlier generations were amateur craftsmen at home. They used glass, metal, wood, ceramics and textiles to make unique handicrafts in their home workshops.

Craft Kits for Kids

One thing the bean counters miss when they choose to cut arts and craft classes is that art is a process. In other words, there is a beginning, middle, and an end. It's easy as pie to criticize modern art and wonder what it all means. Heck, even some of the experts don't know. But art projects have utility. A child gains confidence, even pride when he completes an original work of art or a handicraft. There's a reason why mothers hang finger paintings on refrigerator doors. Kids are proud of them and they want everyone to see what they made on their own.

There are dozens of different craft kits for kids that teach and require certain skills to complete. Many of them revolve around a major holiday, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween or the 4th of July. Craft kits can be used to make model cars, airplanes, necklaces, bracelets, picture frames, ornaments, and more.

What to buy?

When shopping for a quality craft kit, it is important to consider the age and skill level of the child. If she has never completed a craft project before, it is probably best to start her out on something simple, no matter what her age. Completing a nice festive beaded necklace or bracelet might give her the confidence she needs to attempt more challenging projects.

When it comes to arts and crafts, models made of wood are probably the hardest kits to complete. Not only do these ligneous cars and planes need to be cut and shaped, but they must also be painted and put in working order. There's a reason why pinewood derby races are so hotly contested. People spend hours crafting these model cars. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to find a craft kit your child will enjoy and ultimately complete.

Craft kits for kids can be found in all varieties online. Take some time now to find the best kits for your kids now.

DIY Craft Essential #5: Painter's tape

Painter's tape is "perfect for for attempting the c​olor block trend," said Morin. Plus, you'll need something to keep your projects neat and tidy, no matter what type of paints you use.

DIY Craft Essential #6: Hot glue gun

There are some tools that are too functional not to have. "This is one DIY workhorse tool you shouldn't do without," said Morin. Hot melt glue works on a variety of materials.
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