According to an article by Eugene Schwartz,
“Recent neurological research tends to confirm that mobility and dexterity in the fine motor muscles, especially in the hand, may stimulate cellular development in the brain, and so strengthen the physical foundation of thinking.”
Matti Bergstrom, a Swedish neurophysiologist, says:
“The density of nerve endings in our fingertips is enormous. Their discrimination is almost as good as that of our eyes. If we don’t use our fingers, if in childhood and youth we become “finger-blind”, this rich network of nerves is impoverished-which represents a huge loss to the brain and thwart’s the individual’s all-around development.”
What I love about the Waldorf Education is how handcrafts and art are such a focussed part of education. They are an important source of nourishment to the head, hands, and heart.
Children from a young age will be able to explore with rolling balls of wool and using a knitting fork or simple finger knitting activity through rhyme and song. Children are often given clay to explore within the kindergartens.
Young children can enjoy wet felting and explore sewing,
As children turn 7 they can start to use knitting needles.
The handcrafts might be taught through stories, songs, and rhymes and can teach many things including math.
Handcrafts also are deeply encouraged for parents. It is wonderful for children to see us making things and it's also incredibly relaxing and soothing too for ourselves. It can connect us to the creative part of ourselves and encourage our children to enjoy creating too.
One of the reasons I loved Waldorf was because of its encouragement, I always loved to make things but didn't have much opportunity as a child. It has been frustrating learning some new skills such as knitting but when your fingers get the rhythm it's wonderfully relaxing. I have found I have become calmer in myself and often whilst I'm sat in the rocking chair I've noticed as George sees me doing something he will quietly go into his play in a more engaging way as he can see I am doing something meaningful to me. He also told me I look beautiful when I knit, so perhaps he could see the joy in my face which was so sweet.
If you are interested in exploring handcrafts with your children but are not quite sure where to get started you can start with these few ideas, to begin with.
Clay - Offering clay in your weekly Rhythm for your children to explore with
A knitting fork and wool - a really simple starting point for knitting (easy to get started)
Wet felting - it is as simple as wetting clay, you can make balls and mats to explore with for open-ended play. I will be bringing more crafts into our monthly groups as time goes on and working with the children to explore in different ways.
Beeswax - Warming the wax in your hands and working it into whatever you like
If you are looking for tutorials myriad toys often have them on your blog and I can also add some blogposts with some simple tutorials to get started to this if you are interested, just drop me a message and I will make some of these for you.
I use myriad toys for materials online.
I hope you enjoyed this post and happy crafting.