Craptivity

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Craptivity is a descriptive term, used by some in the early learning profession, to describe activities, (often craft projects) that:

  • Focus more on the appearance of the finished product than on the activity’s process
  • Are more teacher-focused than child-focused,
  • Are of questionable developmental appropriateness
  • Fail to meet Gray’s Conditions of Play
Craptivity Fish

Craptivities often involve a lot of teacher prep time (cutting out pieces, organizing materials), don’t involve much freedom of expression from the children, and are often intended to offer parents a Cute Thing to take home and hang on the refrigerator or send to Grandpa.

Craptivity Snowman

Defenders of craptivities assert that such projects help children learn to follow directions, self-regulate, hone small muscle skills, and more. There’s some truth to this, but play advocates would argue that those skills are better learned in child initiated activities where the children have more control and ownership of the process.

craptivity turkey

As mentioned above, one reason such activities are so maligned is that they fail to meet the Conditions of Play outlined by Peter Gray in this article and in his book, Free To Learn.

Usage: “Miss Brittney spent the morning cutting circles for another craptivity she found on Pinterest today instead of helping with sensory play.”

Contact us with questions, concerns, and comments about this Early Learning Glossary Entry.

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Jeff is an early learning speaker, toymaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ who is really bad at getting his picture taken.

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