Arts and crafts provide children with a host of benefits, including language development, making arts and crafts an ideal activity for young English language learners. Not only do young children enjoy the process of creating arts and crafts projects, but they also gain vital language skills, as they learn the names of the items associated with projects and they learn how to describe what they make. Use this hands-on and interactive approach to teach young learners the English language.
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Encourage young English language learners to create collages. Provide children with magazines, newspaper, store circulars and scrap pieces of fabric, paper and other craft materials that they can use to create a collage. Prompt children to assemble the materials to create pictures. While engaging in this art project, discuss the names of the items that children use; for example, ask them to provide the names of specific colours or of images that they are use. After children create their artwork, invite them to provide a description of their creation; offer the proper pronunciation of words as they use them or supply words if they seem unsure.
Ask English language learners to create paintings to help them develop English-speaking skills. Provide children with different types of paints; tempera, watercolour and finger paints, for example. Offer them various materials to use to create their paintings; paintbrushes, leaves, cotton swabs and marbles, for instance. Encourage children to use the paints and the materials to create pictures of anything they wish. While painting, review the names of colours and the objects they are using to paint in the English language. Ask them to share what they are creating to help further develop their language skills.
Use clay to create sculptures with young English language learners. Offer children different colours of clay, rolling pins, cookie cutters, scissors, toothpicks and any other materials that you think would be useful for sculpting clay. Prompt children to use the materials to create any type of craft they would like, from a sculpture of a person to clay flowers. Be sure to ask children to discuss the process they are using to create their clay crafts; rolling, cutting pressing, flattening; also discuss the colours and shapes of the crafts that they are making.
Specific Arts and Crafts
Have children create specific arts and crafts projects to encourage the development of specific English language skills. For example, have children use paper plates to create masks of animals or use paper bags to create puppets. Students can use their hand prints to create images of flowers, or they can decorate terracotta flowerpots. As with all arts and crafts projects, discuss the names of the materials that are being used, as well as the items that are being crafted, to promote development of the English language.
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