The Maker movement is sweeping into education. Creating has long been considered an important part of early childhood education, but is creeping its way into primary and middle grades. So why are these things important? Why are they valuable?
Making and Creating have many positive aspects. First, they involve many STEAM skills which will be valuable for kids as they grow. In addition to those however, Making and Creating build several other important capacities too. The process involves planning and execution. Creating enables kids to think about what they want to do, and then how to carry out the execution of that plan. The function of planning is an incredibly important skill that is easier to teach through activity and concrete ideas. Completing the plan coincides with the executive functioning skills with planning. These tandem skills are incredibly valuable for kids.
Most importantly, Making and Creating develops one of the most important skills for future ready kids, collaborative problem solving. I gained this perspective recently from the powerful and simple activity I did with K-2 classes for the 100th day of School. The simple activity of challenging kids to build a tower with 100 toothpicks using marshmallows was incredible. No matter who the kids were, what grade level, or even special needs, all were able to work together and discuss how to make their tower. Kids worked with people from different grade levels and were amazing with their conversations on how to get their building components to match up, how to make the towers more stable, which shapes to build with, and so many more things. There were no behavior problems, just kids developing plans, executing plans and collaborating to solve problems to accomplish a goal.
Why Making and Creating? Simple: it creates some of the most valuable skills for growth and development for kids at every age.