There were cookies to be frosted, turkey hand outlines to be traced and clay to be molded on the afternoon of Nov. 16.
Six students in Daniel Bigler’s sociology of children class recently worked with EWU’s Children’s Center to create a service project consisting of an arts and crafts activity called “Sharing and Caring.”
The group had to choose a project that allowed them to interact with children, which is something they have been learning about this quarter.
“Our assignment was to do a service learning project, and we picked to do crafts because we are getting the child’s perspective through art, and it’s kind of a way for us to give back to our community, I guess,” said Maria Hernandez, a children’s studies major.
Hernandez guided the children on making a turkey out of a paper plate. She patiently worked with them, helping to spell out their names and dispensing paint. Though not sure of her ideal job, she knows she loves working with kids. “They’re spontaneous, and you don’t know what to expect from them. They’re so creative.”
The children, who were 4 to 5 years old, let their creativity shine through a variety of craft projects, most of which were centered around Thanksgiving.
They made clay hand imprints in an activity provided by urban planning student Barbara Williams.
“I think it brings back a lot of memories, especially for parents,” said Williams, who has two grown kids of her own.
Austin Davis made sugar cookies for the children to decorate with frosting and sprinkles.
Davis said he was interested by the way the children interacted with each other.
“The surprising thing is they were asking each other questions, like if they could use a certain color of frosting. … [There was] a lot of sharing and a lot of cooperation.”
Psychology major Steven McDaniel instructed the kids on decorating their own artwork with macaroni. His idea behind the craft was to provide them with an inexpensive activity.
“Have you ever bought toys? They’re expensive,” he said. “For a family getting most of their food from Second Harvest [foodbank], that just isn’t an option. This is quick, easy and convenient.”
McDaniel wanted the children to have the freedom to create what they wanted.
“Children are always being instructed,” he said. “We hardly ever hear them. They just need guidance. … They have perfect minds. Their minds are much faster and more absorbent than ours. And just listen to how excited they get.”
Ramiro Garcia, a criminal justice major who hopes to work with at-risk kids, showed children how to trace their hands to make a turkey and then asked them to write something they were thankful for on each of the turkey’s feathers. Psychology major Diana Sanchez had a similar craft where she helped the children draw trees and then write what they are thankful for on each of the leaves.
“I chose mine because Thanksgiving is next week, and this way they can take the time to think,” Sanchez said. “They can show it to their parents, and their brothers and sisters or friends, and they can be thankful for those people in their life.”