Enthusiasm, curiosity, and lots of energy! Young learners’ classes can be one of the most rewarding teaching experiences—provided you are ready to find the right balance between creativity and your lesson objectives!
Why Arts and Crafts matter—a lot!
1. Arts and Crafts activities provide a meaningful context for language practice and motivate children to use language constructively.
2. Puppet, mask and modelling tasks draw upon the child’s out-of-school experience and interests.
3. The creation of masks, puppets, etc involves the child (in action and activity) in activities which reinforce language learning.
4. Hands-on tasks draw upon the child’s knowledge of other subject areas, such as Maths or Geography, and allow them to transfer skills gained in one area to another.
5. Shy students can hide behind the character of their puppet/mask and may be more willing to participate.
Interested in more activities for young learners? Take a look at our
Arts and Crafts for Young Learners: 5 + 2 activities to get you started
1. Children collect pictures of animals and make a collage by sticking them (on) to a large sheet of card which is then displayed on the wall of the classroom.
2. Using card and pins, children draw, colour and cut out clocks with moveable hands. The clocks are then displayed on the class notice-board.
3. After having read a story, children create their own masks of characters in the story and then act out a dialogue or part of the story.
4. Using “play-doh” or modelling clay, children try to make statues of some of the main characters of a book or dialogue.
5. Using various odds and ends (paper, glue, cotton, wool etc), each child makes a simple puppet and describes its character to the rest of the class. When several puppets have been described in this way, the children work together in groups to produce a scene using the characters. They could alternatively make puppets of characters in their (course book) one word!!! and enact dialogues from the book. (Hand puppets can be made using old socks, stick puppets with ice-cream lolly sticks.)
6. Children follow instructions on how to make a paper house. (fold back along lines as shown below – with just 4 folds the house will stand up) They then colour their model and draw in pieces of furniture.
7. Using wooden blocks as buildings, children work in groups to produce a model of their town-centre or an imaginary town.
Teaching Young Learners: The Keys to Getting it Right
1. Keep things simple.
2. Try out the activity at home to see if it can be done/identify difficult stages.
3. Think about setting the activity up – instructions – demonstration?
4. Practice demonstrating the activity in the mirror so that you see what the children will see.
5. Make a checklist of all the materials that you need. Ask the children to bring some in for you – “I want you all to bring a stick of glue on Monday”.
6. Think about timing – Spend too much time and the activity will become dull and boring.
7. Monitor the activity as it progresses. Offer a helping hand if necessary and encourage the use of the target language.
8. Praise the children for their efforts.
9. Storage Space – What happens to all the puppets, masks and models after the lesson? The children can either take them home or you can display them in class.