5 Reasons Why Arts & Crafts Are Crucial For Early Development

Dinosaurs and unicorns are alive. Superheroes and insects work together to fight evil. Yep, you heard that right! Welcome to the world of arts and crafts – a magical world where children can put on their capes of creativity and curiosity, unlocking the secrets of their own potential. Arts and Crafts are the forefront of development and growth in young children. From open-ended creative expression to cognitive enhancement, arts and crafts truly impact young minds more than we might expect. Let’s explore five benefits that arts and crafts unlock.

Fine Motor Skill Development

Painting, drawing, cutting, and pasting may seem like simple, mundane activities, but they play a crucial role in developing fine motor skills. These activities require precise movements and coordination, which help children refine their hand-eye coordination and dexterity. As they work with various art mediums, they strengthen their muscles in their hands and fingers, laying the groundwork for future tasks like writing. Take a look at one of our new products that aids fine motor skill development in a big way:

Imagination and Creativity

One of the most significant benefits of arts and crafts learning is gaining the ability to ignite and nurture imagination from a creative point of view. Whether it’s molding clay into mythical creatures or using craft sticks to tell stories of ancient kings and queens, crafts encourage children to think out of the box and explore their creative abilities. This freedom sets children on a trajectory for future success in creative roles and professions. Here is our recommendation for products that enhance imagination and creativity:

Cognitive Development

Engaging in arts and crafts activities stimulates various cognitive functions in children. As children explore possibilities through color, they engage in a wide range of cognitive processes from selecting hues to blending shades to recalling memories evoked by colors. These cognitive processes are not limited to the realm of colors alone; they extend to activities like building structures with blocks or piecing together puzzles, where children combine spatial reasoning and critical thinking together to bring their ideas to life. Through these immersive experiences, children not only develop their artistic abilities but also strengthen essential cognitive functions, laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning and growth.

 Expression and Communication

Not only do arts and crafts provide children with freedom of creative expression, but they also provide a non-verbal outlet through self-expression. By exploring colors, shapes, and textures, they can convert their feelings, thoughts, and experiences into expressions. This form of artistic expression is especially beneficial for those who may find it hard to communicate their feelings verbally. By engaging in creative activities, children learn to express themselves in alternative ways, fostering emotional intelligence and communication skills. Art can also serve as a calming and therapeutic activity, helping children manage stress and anxiety. The process of creating art allows them to channel their feelings constructively and develop resilience when facing challenging situations.

Social Skills and Collaboration

Learning how to work with others is a crucial developmental skill that will be used throughout a lifetime. In fact, more that 50% of people say their jobs require collaboration with one another and 75% of employees rate team work as being crucial in the workplace. Arts and crafts often involve collaboration and social interaction, whether it’s contributing to a group project or sharing ideas and materials with peers. These interactions teach children key social skills like sharing, voicing your opinion, taking turns, and cooperating towards a common goal. They learn to respect diverse perspectives, communicate effectively, and work as part of a team, which are essential skills for navigating social relationships in the future.

Incorporating arts and crafts at an early age is more than just a recreational activity – it’s a powerful tool for holistic development. From honing in on fine motor skills and cognitive development to gaining emotional intelligence and social competence, the benefits are far-reaching and long-lasting. By providing opportunities for creative expression and exploration, we empower children to unlock their full potential and become confident and independent individuals. Let’s nurture their creativity, one masterpiece at a time!

Tropical Art-a-Roni Bracelets

2014-08-06-FeatureImageToday’s craft is pretty simple, but no less fun to try out! We’re making use of our extra-bright and colorful Tropical Art-A-Roni® Noodles to fashion exotic-looking bracelets. 

Age: 4+

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Learning Objectives: Develop manual dexterity while threading pasta beads through pipe cleaners and winding pipe cleaners around spiral pasta beads. Mix and match bright and fun colors for a range of interesting bracelet designs. Enhance visual stimulation while combining multiple bracelets into pleasing arrangements.

You’ll Need:

R2113 Art-A-Roni® Tropical Noodles

• Pipe cleaners


Making a tropical bracelet is a great way to get prepped for some summer fun at the beach! Our Tropical Art-A-Roni® Noodles are pre-dyed for you, eliminating the need to spend hours creating your own pasta noodle craft pieces for the classroom. One box is contains 1 pound (454g) of assorted colorful pasta noodles–just open and start crafting!

P8060076There are more than three kinds of noodles that we can use from the pack to make our bracelets. Although the noodles are mostly intended for gluing down, a neat technique allows you to use more noodles than you might think!

On the far left, I’ve placed our radiatori noodles. These look like mini shrunken spirals. In the middle, you will see our fusilli and cellentani noodles and on the far right, penne and rigatoni pasta noodles.


Pipe cleaners are usually made of a combination of a length of braided wire and woven fibers that make up the fuzzy part. You can press one end of the pipe cleaner against your finger and feel the point. This point can be squeezed into the hole of a radiatori–make sure that the pipe cleaner is straight enough to fit through. If you encounter a stubborn length of pipe cleaner, simply snip it off with a pair of scissors. Push the radiatori through to the desired point.

P8060080The penne is quite simple to thread through. Simply slide the pipe cleaner through the opening.

P8060082The fusilli are a bit tougher to thread through but with the versatility of the pipe cleaner, it is possible! Start at one end of the fusilli. Wind the pipe cleaner around the bottom of the fusilli then follow the spiraling track across the pasta noodle to the top.

P8060083Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite simple!

P8060086You can use the same technique with the fusilli as with the cellentani pasta noodles. You can see that I’ve filled up almost the entire length of the pipe cleaner with a variety of pasta noodles.

P8060088Once you are near the end of your length of pipe cleaner, twist it and tie off.

P8060091Here’s a selection of the various kinds of bracelets I made with pipe cleaners and a few choice Tropical Art-A-Roni Noodles®.

P8060094Make multiple kinds of bracelets and wear them all at once for an authentic tropical feel!


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Craft Spotlight: Nature Stencils


Use detailed Nature Stencils to draw beautiful pictures while developing fine motor skills and encouraging image association. Each shape has a coordinating border to add interest to students’ drawings.

The stencils kit features many different types of flora and fauna that can be used to discuss animal and plant ecology. Click on the link to view the product at our website!

Another great feature about the stencils is the size: large enough for little fingers to trace all the fine details without frustration. A good way to practice tracing is to use the specialized image border. By tracing along a straight plane, students will develop their own techniques for tracing and can apply those techniques to the more complicated images on the interior of the stencil.

The best part is that one stencil becomes a two-in-one. Pop out the interior of the stencil to duplicate the image that students can trace. As a result, while one student traces the interior of the stencil, or practices with the intricate border, an advanced student can grip the inner shape and trace without the need for extra support.

Use the traced outline as a guide for developing scissor skills! Cut out the resulting shape to make decorations for classroom walls. Check out our project video below!


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Paint Bellows Tree


Use process-based methods to create colorful tree artwork! The techniques used involve materials such as Paint Bellows, fingerpaint and Squiggle Pipettes, all combined to give your students an exercise in fine motor development while enjoying the result of the final image. 

Age: 3+

Duration: 10 minutes

Learning Objectives: Explore process artwork through fine motor activity. Use Paint Bellows and Squiggle Pipettes to exercise squeeze-and-release motions using various finger coordination. Achieve harmonious effects with 3 different art techniques. Enhance image association through fluidly and unidirectionally moving the pipette to make a tree trunk, spritzing paint to make the tree leaves and pressing fingerpaint onto the paper to make apples. Create results with process-based art!

You’ll Need:

R54460 Squiggle Pipettes

R5419 Paint Bellows

• Fingerpaint in tree colors (green, brown, red)

• Card paper sheet (8.5 x 11″)

• Paint tray


Educators are always looking for ways to add process steps to their students’ learning activities. Instead of merely focusing on the process, guide students to make beautiful artwork through step-by-step fine motor exercise using several different tools–Paint Bellows, Squiggle Pipettes and their own fingers!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou won’t need many materials to make this artwork! Place the sheet of card paper inside a paint tray. I use card paper in this project to help withhold it shape under the paint.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMix one part brown paint with one part water to make the paint watery for the Squiggle Pipette. To use the Squiggle Pipette, dip the nozzle into the paint, and squeeze the bulb to release all the air. Release the bulb while holding the nozzle in the paint to draw in some of the paint.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo paint with the Squiggle Pipette, release the paint onto a sheet of card paper. Start from the bottom of the sheet, squeeze out a bit of paint, then draw up the Squiggle Pipette while continuing to squeeze the paint out. This will produce a tree-trunk base for the tree artwork.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUse the remaining brown paint in the Squiggle Pipette to make offshoots from the main tree trunk. These will form the boughs and branches of the tree. A good technique is to squeeze a bit of paint out from the center of the tree, then draw the pipette outwards from the center to make a wispy, crooked branch.

Add a few lines at the bottom of the tree trunk to form the tree’s roots.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASqueeze a bit of thick green paint into a bowl. NOTE: Do not water down this paint! In order to effectively use the Paint Bellows, you will need to use very thick paint. This helps to achieve the splatter effect better than using watered-down paint.

To use the Paint Bellows, first squeeze the top and bottom of the accordion chamber together. This will release all the air from the chamber.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHold the Paint Bellow taut as you dip the nozzle into the paint, then release the top and bottom to allow the chamber to draw in the paint. You can see that only a very small amount of paint has been drawn into the chamber.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASqueeze the top and bottom of the Paint Bellows together to make the chamber spritz out the paint. The effect will produce multiple miniature dots on the canvas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAContinue adding more spritzes of paint around the boughs of the tree. Focus on getting students to exercise their finger muscles while using the Paint Bellows.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAContinue filling up that tree space until you are happy with how it looks. Concentrate more green in the spaces near the boughs, so that your artwork mimics the appearance of leaves throughout the tree.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow we are ready to decorate the tree. Squirt a bit of red finger paint into a bowl. Students can dip one finger into the red paint.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUse the tip of your finger to make little dots representing apples (or any type of fruit) on the tree.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAContinue adding dots to emphasize concentrated finger placement. Students should pay attention to the overall balance and composition of their tree artwork, and focus on where placing the dots will make the tree look fuller.


You can experiment with different types of tree appearances or add more to your painting. However, the core purpose of the artwork is to engage fine motor skills and focus on process as well as result art.


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Bug Rubbing Plates


Find out how we used our Bug Rubbing Plates to make stunning suncatchers! The raised edges on our rubbing plates make it easy to develop impressions of the assorted designs. Create beautiful prints using simple materials!

Age: 5+

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Lesson Objectives: Exercise fine motor skills. Use one hand to hold designs down, while coloring with crayon using the other hand. Create art project with different mediums. Develop art project using process-based applications, while achieving visually pleasing results. Use main imagery of rubbing plates to discuss animal biology and ecology.

You’ll Need:

R5843 Bug Rubbing Plates

• Crayons

• Clear plastic page covers

• Rubber grip mat


• Tape


The rubbing plates come in a wide variety of designs, and are great for exploring thematic subjects while developing fine motor skills. Our Insect Rubbing Plates, very similar to our Bug Rubbing Plates, were memorably used in a textile printmaking process, featured in a guest post. The plastic plates are made specifically for small hands to work with, so your students will appreciate how easy it is to work with the plates.

The process is quite simple: Place a rubbing plate underneath a canvas. Rub a crayon across the canvas to produce the rubbing plate pattern line-for-line! It’s a great way to make multiple prints while experimenting with different crayon colors or materials.


Grab the materials you’ll need for this activity. It’s a good idea to cover your workspaces with a craft tablecloth that will catch any crayon shavings from your students’ projects.

IMG_2385Place the rubber grip mat onto the tablecloth. This type of material can be find at most dollar variety stores. This will eliminate the need for taping anything to the actual tablecloth, however, if you feel you need a better hold on the canvas, tape is another option.

Center the rubbing plate on top of the rubber grip mat.

The plastic page cover can be located at office supply stores. Place that on top of the rubbing plate.


Choose darker crayon colors for this activity. Some of our art campers used lighter colors, but you can add defining lines with a layer of darker crayon. Unwrap the crayon from its paper wrapping and use the long side of the crayon to rub across the plastic sheet. Rub primarily over the rubbing plate’s raised design to get the best effect.

IMG_7508Depending on how light the crayon color, students might not get to see their designs until they are finished. This is a good way to get students guessing what their final pieces might look like.

IMG_7510Once you are finished, lift up the plastic page cover from the rubbing plate to reveal the design!

IMG_2417You can cut the design out from the plastic page cover and punch a hole at the top. Hang the designs on a window!


Thanks to our creative crafters for starring in this craft post!

Line-06Thanks for checking out this post! Like us on FacebookShare this post with your friends, or Subscribe to this blog today to receive original craft project updates every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!

Chromatography Flowers


Find out what colors of ink are used in your markers! Chromatography is used to break a solution into its component parts. In other words, the colors of markers are often made by combining several other colors together. To split these colors back apart, we need to use chromatography! In this post, we’ll show you how this amazing technique can be used to decorate our Color Diffusing Flowers with crazy effects!

Age: 5+

Duration: 10 minutes (+15 minute drying time)

Learning Objectives: Learn about the properties of colors through chromatography. Learn what chromatography is and how certain effects are produced using simple materials. Develop a basic understanding of the science behind color mixing. Explore fundamental scientific concepts, such as physical (compared to chemical) changes in mixtures.

You’ll Need:

R2440 Color Diffusing Paper Flowers

• Epsom Salts

• Plastic cup

• Warm water

• Markers (washable brands)


• Ribbon

• Scissors


Chromatography is a great method to introduce young kids to science… or even to try out for yourself! Basically, the materials used in chromatography help to split a mixture back into its original parts. The Epsom Salts in water attach onto certain molecules in the ink and push them apart. Therefore, it’s a great means of exploring color mixing and how colors are put together to make new ones.

We made a very similar experiment in one of our YouTube videos. Check it out at the link!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALet’s start with our materials! As you can see, we’ll need to select a type of flower, some markers and get our basic chromatography equipment ready. Because markers are made with various shades, you won’t have to worry about staying away from primary colors.

Note: I’ve included yellow just to add a colorful range to our chromatography flower, but as I’ve found, yellow is the only color that won’t separate as well as the others.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are several different types of flowers to choose from. Select your favorite flower type, then count how many petals are on each flower. Choose a similar number of marker colors per petals on each flower, or double up on some colors. Start at the center of the flower and draw a triangle pointing inwards, with the base facing the petal side. Color in the triangle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMix one teaspoon of Epsom salts in one cup of warm water. This solution is what you will use to start the chromatography process! I used a wide, flatter cup to help with dipping the flower evenly into the solution.


Pinch your flower at its center until you form a small handle underneath. This will scrunch the flower a little bit, but it’s important to make this “handle” prominent enough that it will reach the surface of the Epsom salt solution.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow dip the handle part at the center of the flower into the Epsom salt solution. See how the petals stick out from the center? The petals will hold the flower in place so it doesn’t collapse into the cup. You can even curl the petals outwards so that they hold the weight of the flower out from the center.

P7229867 - CopyLook at what happens over time! Not only does the whole flower get completely covered in ink, but the various colors separate into other colors!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere, I’ve tried another type of flower. You can see the gradual changes that take place in a matter of minutes!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe solution is creeping up!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can start to see a change in coloration here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, the ink has completely covered the surface of the flower and is separating the ink into individual lines of color. See the small patch of purple near the center of the flower? You can see some light pink being separated from the darker purple parts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATa-da! When the Color Diffusing Flower is fully saturated in water, remove from the cup and set on top of a dry container. Leave to dry for about 15 minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve set out all the dry flowers here for viewing. Look at the separation in colors! You’ll see the most differences coming from colors such as teal, indigo, magenta and orange.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a closeup of some separate colors that went into creating this soft blue color!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACheck out this indigo color! You can see tinges of light blue at the bottom, dark blue in the middle and magenta at the top!

A good exercise for kids is to guess which colors might have gone into making certain colors before they use their designs with chromatography.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo make your designs extra special, combine them into a pretty garland!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFold your flower in half, then cut two small slits near the center, at about 2″ apart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnfold your flower. Next, weave one end of a length of ribbon through the first slot and back out through the second slot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARepeat for the remaining flower shapes!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA…And hang them up! Combining science with art is lots of fun!


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Craft Spotlight: Flower Forms


Flower Forms are plastic flower bases with slots for threading through your own petal designs! Make your own chain of flowers or use to decorate hair bands or bracelets! 

Flower Forms come in a variety of colors to match various different types of petals. They are sturdy enough to hold the shape of the flower form, but flexible enough to allow tiny fingers to manipulate and place petals through.


You can use either decorative papers, printed flower images, Color Diffusing Paper or tissue paper to form your petals. To decorate Color Diffusing Paper, drop some liquid watercolor onto the sheet. Watch the color expand across the sheet, then drop another color to see how they blend to create new colors! Leave the Color Diffusing Paper to dry overnight. You can use the colored sheet to cut out large peanut-shaped petals, or simply cut out from decorative paper.

Accordion fold the paper shape across so that it is thin enough to fit into the Flower Form slots. Slide one end of the folded shape into one slot, and thread out through the slot on the opposite end of the Flower Form.

To view detailed information on how to put together your Flower Form, watch the video below!


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Craft Spotlight: Touch and Match Animal Cards


A good way to encourage sensory interplay is through games! Try our fun-tastic R76530 Touch and Match Animal Cards, which features colorful cartoon playing cards and animal-shaped buttons. Read on and learn how to play!!The Touch and Match Animal Cards are a great way to get groups of students together to play, especially if you are trying to break the ice!


The Touch and Match Animal Cards feature several types of playing cards. The playing cards are printed with illustrations of colorful cartoon animal and come in 4 sets. Each set represents a difficulty (easy–medium–intermediate–difficult).


The objective of the game is to match the buttons to the cards! Choose one of the decks to play. Shuffle the cards and turn the cards face down. Take one card from the top and lay it on the table. Examine the card. What animal is printed on the card? Match a button to the face depicted in the card.


However, to make full use of your students’ sensory abilities, drop a handful of Animal Face Buttons into the provided blue bag (we recommend about 3-5 buttons at a time). Ask children to place their hands into the bag and feel around for the appropriate button.


This game is great for encouraging visual and tactile skills!


The best way to distinguish the different decks is by the colors printed on the backs of the cards. The features of each deck is as follows:

Green deck – Easy – Find the face of the animal in the picture!

Yellow deck – Intermediate – Find the faces of both animals in the picture!

Red deck – Difficult – Find the correct face out of four provided faces for the animal body in the image!

Blue deck – Challenging – Find the Animal Face Button corresponding to the animal’s face in the image. There are no other clues provided so think hard about your selection!



Show us your students’ playtime sessions using the Touch and Match Animal Cards! Send photos to subscriber@roylco.ca for a chance to be featured in our next post!

Loralee Lewis uses our Paper Doll Pads!


Loralee Lewis makes beautiful stationery for sale at her website here. Loralee’s experience with paper makes this Paper Doll Pad project an innovative craft for Thanksgiving! Celebrate diversity with fun paper doll characters for your Thanksgiving table!

Loralee Lewis posted her craft on November 22, 2008, entitled: “Gathering Together Activity and Thanksgiving Kids’ Table.” She notes that Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate diversity, and what better way to do so than through customizable paper dolls?


The Paper Doll Pads come in a variety of skin tones! Use construction paper for the clothes and decorate the faces with black marker. To stand the paper dolls up, glue on clothespins to the paper backing! Loralee shows you how at her blog post.


Tape the hands together to represent the importance of community! Tip: Decorate characters to look like historical figures.

Thanks to Loralee for this post!

Images and original post © Loralee Lewis.

This post was not sponsored for a review. At LittleFingersBigArt, our mission is to present to our readers and viewers the newest and most creative craft ideas that fans of Roylco have made on their own. Our goal is to allow you and other educators and parents to reuse our products in fun ways so that children always get the best educational experience from them!

We’d love to see more ideas like this one! If you’ve got a brilliant craft idea or have made a version of one of our crafts that you would like to share with us, send an email to subscriber@roylco.ca with photos, descriptions or a link to your work. We will create a feature post and link back to you with full credit. We’d love to hear from you!