Listen to the Audio Version of This Article
Written by Allen Michael (sawshub.com). Edited by Paul Stevens-Fulbrook
7 Creative School Project Ideas to Stimulate Cognitive Development.
Why should we include creative projects in our classroom? is it just for play or is there a cognitive benefit? Well, there are at least 5 reasons we should, and none of them are just “because it’s fun”.
Enabling students to be creative in you classroom increases their emotional creativity, they allow them to use and develop their imagination, tools and media and broadens their general knowledge.
There are many different projects you can do that can keep children entertained and stimulate their development at the same time.
Depending on the project, you can stimulate the development of their cognitive and physical skills, foster their creativity and even their growth through sensory exploration.
Here are 7 awesome creative school project ideas you can do with your students to stimulate their development!
7 Projects to Stimulate Your Student’s Development.
These projects are suitable for kids aged 3+ years old, provided they have proper supervision.
These projects also help develop a lot of aspects like motor skills, communication, problem-solving skills, social skills, and many more.
With each project, make sure to carefully review the materials needed and steps to accomplish. You’ll need to be the final judge as to the level that your certain kid is at, and which projects are the most appropriate.
Safety is extremely important. The goal is for you to do these projects with your class, which means you can also pay attention to their safety at the same time.
Without further ado, here are 7 of our favourite projects to do with your students to help stimulate their cognitive development.
#1 Make a Crayon Holder Box for Hand-Eye Coordination.
Woodworking can be a tremendous experience for children. There are many woodworking projects you can do with children that develop a child’s hand-eye coordination and creativity.
One of the most useful woodcraft projects you can try is making a crayon holder box. Children can have something that can store their crayons and also keep the classroom clean from scattered crayons.
You’ll need these materials in order to make a crayon holder box:
- 3 pieces of 1×3 wood for the body of the crayon holder
- Drill with ⅜ inch drill bit
- Wood glue
In terms of tools, a drill with a ⅜ inch drill bit is the most practical choice since it’s close to the diameter of a pencil. This is perfect for regular-sized crayons but if the children use jumbo sized crayons then you need to adjust the size of the drill bit accordingly.
Plane the wood ahead of time or let the parents do it. This way the wood is smooth and you prevent any cuts from rough wood. It also saves time on sanding for the project.
- Stack 2 pieces of 1×3 lumber on top of each other. Use wood glue or small brad nails to secure them together. If you want it to hold very firmly then use small brad nails for better results.
- Outline the holes you will be drilling for the crayons. Use a pencil to outline a circle around the drawing device for each hole to be drilled. Use the crayons to outline the diameter of the circle.
- Now using the drill with ⅜ inch drill bit and create a hole in the outline. Make sure you supervise the child when doing this. Drill the hole until it completely goes through both sides of the block.
- After drilling all the holes, attach the 1×3 piece of lumber to one end of the wood. This will act as the base and holds the crayon inside of the DIY crayon holder box.
This project is great and gives your students something they can continue to use in the coming years.
#2 Try Out Textures for Sensory Learning.
Kids are natural sensory learners. They love to discover the world via touch, smell, and taste. Just think of how many times have you heard yourself repeatedly telling “Don’t touch that!”.
Your students will love to try this texturing project out. All you have to do is create a sequence of numbers and letters onto a poster paper. Use a dark marker to trace the letters and numbers.
Now that you have the canvas ready, it’s time for the kids to fill it up. Prepare items such as sandpaper, beans, cotton balls, and pipe cleaners.
They will have fun feeling the surface of the letters and learning to say them at the same time.
This is especially good for toddlers who are still learning numbers and alphabets. For advance learning, use names and words for the poster paper.
Let the children describe what they are feeling and identify what they are shaping with their touch.
#3 Make them Label Classroom Objects for Identification.
This is a great way for children to familiarise themselves with the objects around the classroom. It develops children’s ability to identify everyday objects that they will use and see in their everyday lives.
It also fosters their writing skills and linguistic development.
Labelling allows children to know that everything has its own characteristics and can be identified and written down. This project is great for kids who know the letters of the alphabet.
Here’s how to do the project:
You can do this project by preparing copies of paper rectangularly shaped. The number depends on how many objects you are going to let them identify.
This will be where they will write down the name of the identified object. You can add traceable words to make it less difficult.
For kids who are still learning to write, you can write down the name of the objects on the paper and let the kids label them.
The next part is simply having the kids identify objects around the classroom and let them write down the name of the object on the paper, then simply tape the label on the object.
For kids who are still learning to write, all they have to do is identify the object and stick the correct label on them.
The labels can stay for the rest of the school year. This way, the children are reminded of what word identifies the object and develop their identification skills.
#4 Do a Treasure Hunt for Critical Thinking.
Kids are very curious and are natural investigators. What’s better than to play toy treasure hunt inside the classroom. Treasure hunting develops children’s critical thinking ability and tracking skills.
In this project, children are required to think of where objects would be best hidden and this stimulates their mind.
You can classify treasures according to shapes, colour, and other things. For example, scheduling to find objects that are coloured red on Monday, and then finding objects that are square in shape on Tuesday.
You can do this project on a weekly basis. Doing it daily may make it feel like a daily chore for the children. You can also incorporate adding labels to the objects so they could identify them more easily.
You can also do it outdoors so the kids can also develop their motor skills.
#5 Create a Weather Window Wall for Observation Skills.
A weather window wall project develops children’s observational skills and lets them describe and identify the different types of weather.
They also develop the ability to visualise their observations through drawing.
This is a fairly easy project. You’ll only need drawing materials like a pencil, crayons, markers, or watercolours and a blank white paper for them to draw on. You’ll also need some brown construction paper to act as window panes and frames.
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut 3 long strips (11” x 1”) from brown construction paper and 3 short strips (8” x 1”). You can also have it prepared beforehand by parents.
- Let the kids glue 2 long and 2 short pieces of the brown construction paper around the edges of the paper to form the border of the window.
- Now let the children observe the weather outside and let them write the word that describes the weather on the window frame.
- Let them draw their observation of the weather on the blank white paper.
- Glue the 2 remaining pieces in a cross shape pattern on the middle back part of the drawings to create a four-pane window.
- You can place them on a window corner and change them once every month or week.
#6 Do Some Shadow Play for Creativity.
Shadow play is a great activity to enhance the creativity of children and their hand movement.
Shadow play helps stimulate children’s imagination while it helps with fine motor skills. However, be careful when doing this project as some kids can be afraid of the dark.
There are a variety of ways you can do shadow play inside the classroom. The most common is making shadow objects out of your hands. It’s best to take the lead and make an example for the children.
Here’s how to do this:
- Make sure you have a visible light already on before turning off the lights inside the classroom.
- If you want, you can make up a short story to make the shadow play more creative and engaging for the children.
- You can use Clip Art to guide you in making some shadow puppetry.
- If you’re teaching a lot of children, it’s better if you get a bigger headlight.
#7 Build a Fort for Motor Skills and Creativity.
Building forts is doable inside a classroom setting (…and don’t you dare try and suggest you won’t love it too!).
It doesn’t require any crazy or expensive supplies. All you need to have are blankets and pillows but you do need a lot of them. Make sure the floor is clean before doing this project or use some floor protectors or mats.
Fort building develops children’s creativity and engineering skills. They also get to have fun creating a house or fort on their own.
All you have to do is supervise and help them when they need it.
Let them decide on what they’re going to build.
What’s more, the children can take a nap inside the fort or playhouse that further benefits their development.
At What Age is a Child Most Influenced?
From birth to age 5 is when the child’s brain develops the fastest than any other age. Early brain development helps a lot in a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life.
With this in mind, it’s important to engage children early on with projects that help with their development.
The Importance of Creative Activities in Early Childhood.
Through simple plays and projects, your students can develop fast and become competent at learning in school.
Whether it be physical, social, intellectual, emotional or creative, children go through this learning stage through creative play.
As a teacher, you’re there to help develop and foster their development. Some of the aspects that you need to take note of are:
- Emotional Creativity: A measurement of how children respond to their environment, objects, and people around them. Children respond differently to what they see, hear, and touch.
- Media and Tools: Children need to learn how to use different kinds of technological items. You can also observe their creative development through their interaction with media like photos and videos and tools like building blocks and toys.
- Creative Imagination: Children also need to develop how they deal and respond to dance, stories, music, role-playing, and art.
- Creative Music and Dance: It’s also important that children can identify music, sound, and dance and what mediums are used to produce them.
- General Knowledge: It’s important to give the children the tools and opportunities to grow and learn in understanding the world around them.
Brain Development Plus Quality Time.
DIY Projects do a lot more for your children than just develop and stimulate their brains. All of these projects also provide valuable time spent with your kids, which goes a long way in their development as well.
A recent study showed that parents that got engaged with their children in learning activities produced children that were more successful in school.
Beyond that, time creating something with your students help build their self-esteem, encourage communication, and develop positive behaviour.
Specific projects like working with your hands helps to develop key hand-eye coordination components in children. It allows them to dream and create, while simultaneously learning how to complete what they start.
Finally, being able to have a tangible product to show for their efforts creates confidence.
Get my eBook featuring Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction, Cognitive Load Theory, Dual Coding Theory and Metacognition Below. (It’s FREE with the Kindle Unlimited trial!)
Developing children’s ability physically, intellectually, and socially is important. You need to expose them at an early age to make them competent learners later on in life. The projects mentioned above will help facilitate the children’s development.
Please share this on your social media using the icons at the top and bottom of this post.