As a first grade teacher I feel I have many strengths. Unfortunately, arts and crafts types of things are not on that list. As a fourth or fifth grade teacher this didn't really bother me. As a first grade teacher it does. A least a bit. Arts and crafts types of things are fun and great for building motor skills. That matters at first grade.
So when SmileMakers offered me their Art Starter Kit it seemed like something I should try. School hasn't started for me so I took it with us on a visit to our niece. My two girls (10 and 6) and my niece (5) were thrilled by it. In fact, my niece requested (quite adamantly) that we leave some materials for her when she had to leave for a birthday party. We practically had to tear her away from her art.
The three girls immediately set out with scissors and glue. The pipe cleaners were a favorite and they strung pasta and buttons on them and glued pom poms and spangles to them. Sometimes they had a plan for what they were creating (a necklace) and sometimes they were just exploring. Both were fabulous.
I think I'll offer these materials to my students as an option during our exploring time (when we play with blocks, magnets, puppets, etc.). Watching that I will see which materials most interest them and should be replenished. Hopefully, I'll also be able to get some ideas of ways to incorporate these materials into more academic parts of our day.
I firmly believe in allowing and encouraging students to explore with things and to be creative. I hope this kit will push me to do that in some new ways.