Creating, making, and figuring things out with your hands can be therapeutic. It’s a natural, healthy way to improve your mental health, and there are plenty of reasons why.
Helps reduce the risk of developing depression and anxiety
Whether you’re dealing with stress at work, a bad mood in your personal life, or simply feeling a little down, crafting can help turn those negative feelings into positive ones. It releases dopamine, a naturally-occurring anti-depressant that can boost your energy levels and make you feel better about yourself. Using your hands to craft also helps you focus, which can help lower stress levels and relieve anxiety.
Reduces age-related memory loss
Studies have found that engaging in leisure activities – such as knitting, crocheting or painting – can help slow down the progression of dementia. It can also soothe individuals who are already experiencing symptoms of dementia, helping them feel more engaged and connected to the world around them.
Builds community and friendships
A lot of people think of making as a solo activity, but it can be a great social experience when done in a community setting. Taking a class in a local art studio or craft store can give you access to new friends and an environment where everyone is supporting each other.
A recent study by Arts & Health revealed that just 45 minutes of free art making can improve someone’s confidence, even if they’re not very good at it. The participants used any material they liked to create something, and then answered a series of questions about their work.
The results are impressive: a 73% improvement in self-confidence after just 45 minutes of free art. The study also found that the more often someone did a craft, the better they got at it.
In a classroom, teachers can use Making to build students’ skills in math, science, and literacy by teaching them to make something based on what they know about those subjects. This can be especially helpful when teaching science, as making a model of an ecosystem or a food chain allows kids to apply their knowledge in a new way.
Promotes learning diversity and creativity
K-12 schools that incorporate Maker projects into their curriculum are helping to break down barriers to learning, and they’re helping to promote a more diverse, more inclusive school community. When students have a choice in what they learn and how they learn it helps to foster curiosity and empathy.
It’s also a fun way for kids to learn about how different things work and how they can be improved or changed for the better. Whether it’s a simple craft or a complex invention, Maker projects teach critical thinking, collaboration, and problem solving skills that will be valuable in the real world.
Despite its many benefits, there are still some things that you should be aware of before getting started with making. It’s important to remember that just because it may be a good idea, doesn’t mean that it is the best fit for your curriculum and learning environment. Before starting a Maker project, be sure to assess your students’ abilities and interests first.