(Building or making things)
Planning and creativity are combined to manipulate objects for building. Constructive play focuses more on the process of creating than on the end product. Through building with different materials children explore and discover how the world works. Using constructive play, children actively experiment with the objects in the environment, explore new possibilities, and use principles of mathematics and science. This type of play is often thought to occur in the block or science areas but it can show itself in the art and dramatic play areas as well.
Art, crafts, sensory, and construction/building play are ways for children to express their creativity, encourages focus and concentration, and develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It also allows children to feel proud of themselves and gain a sense of mastery after they have created something. Art, crafts, and sensory can include weaving, clay, masks, costumes, puppets, sewing, knitting, tie dying, jewelry making, and other similar activities. Children may still enjoy the creativity of plain paper, markers, pens, or paint to create items such as paper hats, mobiles, masks, gift-wrap, or original artwork.
These activities can stimulate physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth in children.
Physical growth is shown through the movements involved in painting, coloring, drawing, scribbling, and playing with clay. All these motions improve fine motor skills. Art activities foster motor and hand-eye coordination. In turn, these skills promote growth in other areas.
Social growth is also sparked by art. Children learn responsibility. They learn that they must put their work in a safe storage space when they are finished. Learning to work and share with others is stressed. In many programs, several children will share one container of paint or a box of crayons. They learn to respect the property of others. They also learn to value the work and ideas of others. Art experiences also promote emotional growth. Through a creative activity, children are allowed to express emotions. For example, pounding at the woodworking bench, hitting play dough, or scribbling with crayons allows angry children to express their frustrations in an acceptable way. Children also have the chance to choose their own activity. For instance, during a painting session, children decide what they will paint. Their choices – a pet, a friend, or a flower – are often expressions of their feelings. Through art, they learn to communicate feelings nonverbally.
Finally, the children’s cognitive growth is encouraged by exploring, experimenting, and problem solving with many materials and tools. Through this process they use the skills of investigative scientist. They learn important concepts such as color, size, texture, and shape. By manipulating and controlling tools, skills such as drawing and cutting are learned. They learn that cutting takes things apart while taping and stringing helps put materials together.