Playful learning with toucanBox

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Kids love to make art. Whether it’s paint, crayons, glue or glitter, they instinctively express themselves - and make sense of their world - through the process of creating art. There is so much children learn through art that is integral is to their development. A ten-year study by Shirley Brice-Heath from Stanford University discovered that children involved in non-school based art programmes are “twice as likely to win an academic achievement, four-and-a-half times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem, and four times more likely to participate in a science or maths fair.”

According to Early Arts, this is because a child’s experiences help reinforce and make new connections between the 100 billion neurones in the brain they were born with. “The connections or synapses that are underused start to get pruned out… and the connections that are regularly used get stronger.” Early Arts wrote in an article in March of this year.

So how does toucanBox stimulate early brain development?

1: Becoming Independent

toucanBox lets children do things for themselves and, for those that are slightly older, it lets them complete the crafts on their own. toucanBox instructions are designed to be simple and pictorial so even young kids learn how to follow instructions, even before they can read! The combination of illustrations and easy-to-read text gives children the power to lead the crafting.

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2: Language Development

Making art teaches children to use words about colours, shapes, textures and verbs. And this language ranges from the technical to the expressive. Children who talk about their art learn to use ‘mental-state’ verbs, such as wonder, speculate or ponder as they talk about the possibility of what will happen next. Moreover, they learn to use words to describe their feelings about the art they are making. And, as toucanBox comes personalised to your child, they quickly learn to recognise their name which will help them find their peg, tray and school uniform in their daily school routine.

3: Fine Motor Skills Development

More and more school teachers are telling us that children are coming to school unprepared. While parents are increasingly focusing on their children’s ability to recognise letters, activities required to develop dexterity needed for handwriting, dressing and eating are being left behind. Modelling clay, holding a paintbrush, scribbling with a crayon, cutting with scissors, squishing and pulling play-dough and drawing shapes help them strengthen the muscles in their hands and fingers. We make sure that our toucanBox crafts are packed with these activities so when children follow get creating, they are naturally developing and perfecting the skills needed for school.

4: Bi-lateral Co-ordination and Visual Learning

Through sculpting with clay, drawing and threading beads on a string, children learn about dimensions, shapes and proportion. By using both hands in these activities, children learn the visual-spatial skills needed to write and tie their shoelaces. Art education also teaches kids how to interpret and use visual information that is so ever-present nowadays. Visual information is being taken in at an incredibly young age now; even young toddlers spend screen time on tablets and smartphones. Art helps to develop visual discerning and understanding.

5: Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking Skills

Problem-solving and critical thinking skills are developed as children make decisions and choices in the process of creating art. They look at a lump of clay and must determine how to turn that clay into a sculpture. If a chosen material doesn’t work for a project then they work to discover what could be used instead. The exposure to different types of media, materials and art forms in a toucanBox subscription, such as paper art, clay making, sculpting and sewing, also helps children develop an interest in art. And so many of our little customers (our toucaneers) have achieved their very first Arts Award from our partnership with Trinity College.

6: Perseverance, patience and focus

Perseverance, patience and focus are important skills in life and art can help children develop these skills. Many projects require learning a new technique, which takes time. Through repetition, children work to perfect these techniques as they engage in creating art. In addition, most art activities have multiple steps that need to be followed, which further develops focus (“What step should I complete first?”). Some projects must be left to dry before they can be completed. Seeing a project through to the end helps children develop a sense of follow-through. These skills help children learn to concentrate at school, to have self-control and to be flexible.

7: Inventiveness and Risk

It is also important to remember that while many art projects come with set instructions, your child should be allowed to explore and investigate on their own. If the instructions say to use red, blue and yellow paint but your child wants green paint, then let them experiment and see what happens. How could they make green paint? How does the project look with the new colour? Let the creative process reign supreme as the fun, joy and discovery begins!

8: Learning About The World Around Us

Even science and geography can come to life and be taught with a hands-on art component for very young children. As children imagine and produce a giraffe and the landscape it lives in, lessons about the different continents and their natural resources can be included. toucanBox has over 200 projects (and counting!) so children learn about animals (big and small), countries and cultures, habitats, history and so much more! Each toucanBox has been carefully designed to compliment the National Curriculum and you’re able to track your child’s progress with our toucanTracker while they are learning through play!

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