Updated: Oct 14, 2020
6. French Learning With Arts and Crafts
Whatever age your child is, you can incorporate French learning with fun arts and crafts activities. Using arts and crafts projects as a tool for exposing your child to French and teaching vocabulary related to the activities is a powerful way to introduce a language to your child; the focus remains on the words and the meanings in context rather than isolating them. Art and crafts projects encourage creativity and permit a child to learn through a kinesthetic fashion. In regards to language learning, it’s particularly relevant to include a broad range of learning opportunities through various mediums - due to its nature, language learning is inherently an auditory experience particularly at a young age as it is spoken and passed on orally, however, by combining it with other types of activities it becomes multifaceted and creates richer opportunities for learning.
The only limit to arts and crafts activities is your own imagination, or perhaps your materials! It’s recommended that you have paper, markers, child scissors and glue for starters, and you can also use found materials or recyclables for your projects. This may require a bit of planning and preparation on your part, however, having a prepared activity gives focus to the learning. Remember that it’s about the process and the language involved, not the finished product - depending on your child’s age and ability, your end result might not quite be as Instagram worthy as the example that you were working from! So just have fun together with no expectations.
I have only recently begun to realise just how many different kinds of crafts you can make with a paper plate. Whales, turtles, dinosaurs, fish, it goes on and on! Paper plates are great because they are an inexpensive and simple household item for crafting with that you probably already have. I love Red Ted Art for craft projects and they have tons of ideas for projects with paper plates.
Not only do children enjoy role play, they also seem to enjoy making masks! Again, this is one that you can do with a paper plate if you're so inclined, or use felt or coloured paper. Animal masks and super hero masks are both simple and effective, and then can be incorporated into role play games. Here’s a roundup from Hello, Wonderful of 12 different masks that you can try your hand at.
French learning with arts and crafts tutorials - You can find loads of how-to tutorials online for all sorts of craft projects. The site Happiness is Homemade has a list of more than 50 quick and easy crafts for all ages. They even claim that no special tools or materials are required, so you should be able to do them with things you already have around the house!
If you are not artistically inclined and lacking inspiration, you can always purchase some craft making kits. Oftentimes most of the required materials are supplied. If you are in the UK, I highly recommend Baker Ross for their craft kits. I find them to be reasonably priced and good quality, plus they have an amazing selection of projects.
Another option that you might like to consider is a monthly subscription to an arts & crafts box for your child. Subscription boxes are becoming more and more popular, and you can find them for everything ranging from arts & crafts to cooking and more. Kids of all ages love to receive a special parcel in the post just for them. Most of them usually include two projects and some other goodies, and are often based around a theme. Baker Ross has a monthly Craft-it! box subscription or perhaps you’d like to support a small business such as the Rainy Day Box and join their Letterbox Club.