Teaching with Crafts

Confession Time—crafts and art are both my joy and my bane. I get so excited writing them onto the calendar and anticipating the experience, but then the day of the craft, it so easy to make excuses for not doing them.

  • I don’t have the right supplies.
  • We’re running an hour late in school.
  • Littlest is into EVERYTHING.
  • I’m going to be making most of the craft.
  • I have a splitting head-ache, and it’s flat time to end the day.

But then, when I do finally muster the time, supplies, and energy to pull it off, I never regret it. I never finish our craft time thinking “we should have just skipped this one.”

Part of the reason is that our crafts are tied into our learning. It’s not just busy work. These crafts either teach during the craft, reinforce the lesson, or encourage the kids to repeat the lesson over and over for “fun” (e.g. puppet shows!).

One of our recent crafts that was a huge winner was our Mezuzah crafts that went with our Story of the World lesson on the Jewish Dispersion or Diaspora. In fact, for all of the above reasons and a few more, I’d actually put this craft off for nearly a week. But the kids kept begging. And of course, I had all of those empty Nerd candy boxes that I’d been saving. Thus, we finally pulled it together, and I’m very glad we did.

Mezuzah craft

First note, the instructions said to use matchboxes, but since I had a plethora of Nerd boxes after Halloween, I figured those ought to work just as well.

I hot glued the boxes together and wrapped them in foil. The kids cut out the shema and memorized it, then we stuffed it inside our boxes before gluing them closed. Then, the kids decorated them. With blue sticky tack, I hung them on their bedroom door frames.

Mezuzah craft

Mezuzah craft

For the rest of the day, as the kids ran in and out of their rooms, I heard them shouting the shema “Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” (Deut. 6:4)

Mezuzah craft

Mezuzah craft

What I didn’t count on was Littlest, watching his big brother and sister, insist on touching the box before I carry him to bed each night.

So when the next craft time rolls around and I have all my excuses handy (and good excuses at that), prayerfully I’ll remember just how life-changing craft time can be.