In this article you will find tips and ideas for using and extending craft activities in the classroom.

There are lots of things to make, as well as videos to watch, in the crafts section on LearnEnglish Kids. 

Preparation

  • It’s a good idea to have an example of the end product to show learners before they get creating. This gives them a clear idea of what they are going to make. Making it yourself means you’ll also check how ‘doable’ it is for your learners. If you make a musical instrument, your learners will be really motivated to make their own if they have a go on the one the teacher made first.
  • A great way to show your learners exactly what they are going to make and how to do it, is to watch a video of the process. This video of Shanah making a lovely spring hat would tie in nicely with a project on the seasons. You could write up a couple of questions on the board before viewing, e.g. Why does Shanah make a hat? (There’s a hat competition at school.) What colours does she use? (green, purple and yellow and a red ribbon). Show the video and have learners answer the questions. Now write a list of ‘making words’ on the board, e.g. cut, stick, glue, card, scissors, fold, colour, felt tip, paint. Learners copy the words in their notebooks and circle them if they hear Shanah say them as they watch the video again. Then hand out the printable instructions and ask your learners find these words on the page before they make their own hats.
  • Have all materials ready before you begin. Learners may lose interest while the teacher spends a few minutes searching for extra scissors! If the children need to bring in materials from home ask them do so a couple of classes in advance and keep them somewhere safe.
  • Decide in advance how you are going to stage the activity. Will it be done over a series of classes? Where will you store the unfinished items? What parts will learners need most help with and which bits can they do alone?
  • Have monitors responsible for handing out and collecting in glue, scissors, colours etc. You could rotate monitors and have a classroom chart to show who is monitor for what in each class. Label pots of scissors, boxes of colours etc in English.

Adapt and personalize

  • Adapt the materials to fit in with class topics or projects. For example, you could borrow the paper plate idea from the spider mobile to make a butterfly mobile as a follow up to reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
  • Or, you could personalize the pop up birthday card materials to make seasonal greetings cards that are specific to your learners’ culture.

Making

  • Give simple instructions in English and demonstrate what you want learners to do. Remind learners to use English as much as possible ('Can I have the scissors please?', 'Can I borrow the red felt tip please?', 'I’ve finished!') during the activity. Ask learners to paraphrase your instructions (or explain to you in their L1) to check comprehension.
  • With very young learners you might want to go stage by stage and wait until everyone has completed a stage before moving on to the next one. Very young learners who finish first can help others so that they stay on task and don’t get bored.
  • Encourage the not-so-artistic learners to enjoy the making process. Give lots of praise even if their creation doesn’t turn out perfectly.
  • Very young learners probably need to tidy up after each stage so that you don’t lose them and their creations under piles of paper and crayons. Having a tidying up song, for example 'put the rubbish in the bin, in the bin' sung to the tune of ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’ works well and speeds things up. Leave plenty of time at the end of the session for tidying up and encourage monitors to make sure everything is put back in the right place.
  • Early finishers can keep busy by doing a printable worksheet.

What next?

  • How are your learners going to use their finished products in class? A game like snakes and ladders can be played in small groups. It could be useful to revise game playing vocabulary (dice, shake, move, counter, my turn, etc.) to maximise English use.
  • If the children have made a clock the learners can take turns to dictate a time to a partner, who has to move the clock hands accordingly.
  • Kids are often really proud of what they’ve made and like to take things home to show their family. After you’ve performed a play using the Little Red Riding Hood finger puppets, your learners will enjoy taking them home to explain what they’ve been doing in English class.
  • Learners can write in to LearnEnglish Kids with their comments on the craft activities. Children that are already registered as members simply click on the link below the activity to send in their message. Ask parents to help their child register at home first.

Have fun!

When you have used some of these ideas, why not come back to this page and leave a comment below to tell us how your class went. Let us know if you have any additional ideas!

Author: 
Sally Trowbridge
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