Handcrafts for your Curriculum

Making handcrafts, useful or decorative items, has been a favorite part of school activities for many students.  The wise teacher will use this information to enhance her curriculum in areas that, traditionally, consist of textbooks and paper.  Making handicrafts throughout the curriculum allows the students a glimpse inside of another culture, helps them visualize an idea and gives them a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment in otherwise boring subjects.  Use your sense of creativity as a teacher and sneak handicrafts  into new areas of instruction today.

Science – The benefits of handicrafts in the field of science are varied.  It takes a subject of experimentation and study and makes it fun.  It allows the student to create projects that can be used.  For example, the student can actual build a flashlight with his own hands and use it to read.  It opens up the possibilities of creativity and exploration in the field of science.

Teaching about electrical circuits can be enhanced by building a lighthouse model.  A 9″ x 3 7/8″ Styrofoam cone can be used as the lighthouse.  First, cut off the top two inches off of the cone.  View pictures of actual lighthouses and paint it with acrylic paints to resemble your favorite one.  Let it dry.  Glue the cone onto a 12″ x 12″ piece of thick cardboard.  

Gather two 16 inch pieces of #18 insulated wire, a 3 !/2″ plastic lid, a small socket with a light bulb, 3/4″ electrical tape, six brass paper fasteners and one D-cell battery.  Remove one inch of protective coating from both ends of both pieces of insulated wire.     

Place the plastic lid upside down on the table and place the socket in the center.  Place around the socket with a thin marker.  and cut two small slits across from each other in the plastic lid.  Poke one piece of wire through one hole and the other piece of wire through the other hole; then glue the socket inside the circle.  

Fasten the wires to the socket, one on one side, one on the other.  Then center the plastic lid on the cone and glue it in place.  Pull the wire tight and use the paper fasteners to hold them into place.  

Tape on wire to the battery.and test your connection by placing the other wire to the opposite end of the battery.  If it lights up, put a plastic bowl like a individual fruit cup over the light to form the lantern room.  Decorate the base of the lighthouse with rocks, trees and miniature people.

Social Studies – The greatest value of handicrafts to social studies  is the ability of the student to experience another culture or time period.  It also takes a subject that involves the memorization of facts and dates and makes it very real.

When completing a unit on Native Americans, a handcrafted medicine bag will give your child a hands-on handcraft and a useful bag.  Make a pattern for a six inch circle and use your pattern on a piece of leather or leather-like material.  Poke thirteen, evenly-spaced holes about one-half inch from the edge of the material.  

Use paint or black markers to draw Native American symbols below the holes.  Use leather lacing and weave the lacing in and out of the holes.  When you reach the end, adjust it so you have an equal amount of lacing on either side lace painted beads on each end and tie a knot.  When the lacing is pulled up, it makes a great medicine or carry-all bag.

Literature – Handicrafts allow the students to become involved in the story when a book is being read.  

 After reading, Shall I Knit You a Hat discuss the need for making good decisions and for reaching out to others.  Teach your children how to knit, crochet or sew and make something they can share with someone else.  

Bible –  Bring Bible stories to life by creating handicrafts with a Biblical slant.  You can make beautiful works of art while learning memory verses or studying a special Bible story.

When you are teaching your child Bible, choose a simple Bible verse and teach your child a handcraft that is almost forgotten. Pencil in the verse on the top of a wooden box.  With a simple wood-burning kit, your child can burn the verse into the box lid.  

Spanish – Using handicrafts to teach a foreign language allows the teacher to give the students an experience with the cultures involved with the language being studied.  

When studying the Spanish language, used handcrafts to make a connection with the culture.  Use red self-hardening clay to make pinch pots.  Turn it on both sides to keep it even.  Flattened the bottom.  Once it is dry, the pot can be painted and covered with shellac to preserve it.  

Most subjects can be enhanced with the use of handcrafts.  Spend a little time and find the perfect handcraft to supplement you curriculum.