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Crafts to connect with your kids

What does exercise have to do with crafting?

I have enjoyed crafting my entire life and I have been an elementary PE teacher for over 12 years now and I have witnessed the many benefits of what physical activity can do for kids like helping to reduce stress and anxiety and increase energy levels. Here are a few more ways exercise improves your brain. (From the book “SPARK: the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” by John Ratey)

  • optimizing alertness
  • attention and motivation
  • prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to each other
  • the development of new nerve cells from the stem cells in the hippocampus 
kids exercising

I think enjoying and being physically active is very important for kids and adults alike. I realize the benefits exercise has for my mental health and my busy brain but I also realize that you can only do so much exercise in one day. Crafting and learning skills to create things with my hands is a great way to create functional items that are meaningful and fun to make. Crafting keeps my hands busy and calms my mind and fills the gaps when I cannot exercise. 

kids sewing and crafting

I have been physically active my whole life and love what it does for my physical and mental health. The reason I bring this up on my “craft” blog is that I also find similar benefits to my mental health when I am creating and learning something new like sewing, knitting or pottery. I love the entire process of learning a new hand craft skill. I love to research the techniques, find the supplies and taking a deep dive into all aspects of the craft. I also love when they become like second nature and I can just let muscle memory take over and it becomes a calming rhythmic activity.

I like to  choose different handcraft skills depending on my interests in that moment, for example, do I want something challenging, something mindless or something that I am just starting to learn? It is fun to be able to choose and change if I get bored or I have a certain situation I need to have my hands busy for. 

I remember when I first learned to knit we were planning on taking a month long camping trip in our 1986 Viking pop-up camper (haha that is a story for another day). We had our route planned out and I knew we would have a lot of time in the car and away from my usual crafts and workout equipment. I set out to learn how to knit and searched for hours and hours on youtube to figure out how to knit. 

I struggled to find a good tutorial that helped start to finish and give me ALL the details I wanted. I eventually figured it out and now I knit nearly everyday and I always have a knitting project on roadtrips. It also encourages creative expression and can help better understand emotions while being a great on the go stress reliever, keeps my hands busy and helps me focus and keeps my mind clear. 

Here are some reasons that crafting and handwork is beneficial for kids:

  • the rhythmic repetition is calming
  • relaxation, stress relief, creativity
  • practice patience and perseverance
  • problem solving
  • focused attention, focus on project
  • pride and achievement
  • calms the mind
  • concentration
  • healthy coping behavior

Both physical activities and crafting can help to foster a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem. They also encourage social interaction, as kids learn to work together to reach goals or complete tasks.

crochet crafting

Here are some ways I like to incorporate working with my hands into my daily routine. 

  • I like to listen to my bible in the morning, I will sometimes walk and listen to it or I will knit while I listen. For me it helps me to focus on what I am hearing and not be as distracted. 
  • I like to wind down at night before bed with about 30 minutes of knitting, hand sewing or another crafting activity. This helps me to stay off of my phone and my brain is getting used to the routine and I can fall asleep faster without my mind wandering too much when I lay down to sleep. 
  • I take my knitting in the car with me so if I have to wait somewhere or my husband is driving I can keep my hands busy. 
  • I sometimes even knit while I am on the treadmill walking! It takes a little coordination and I don’t recommend this unless you can knit without looking at your hands very much. 
  • When I get home from work I either workout or I knit or do some sort of crafting for a little while to help transition from the work day to afternoon/evening time. 

There you have it, bringing two seemingly opposite things together. I would love to know how you incorporate exercise or crafting into your daily routine! If your child loves learning new crafts check out The Makers Club membership so you won’t have to go searching for hours of YouTube like I did when I learned!

Happy crafting!

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