Looking for ways to spark creativity and enthusiasm in your classroom? Combine arts and crafts with math, science, ELA, and other subjects. “It’s joyful,” says Joanna Elliott, an arts integration specialist in Burlington, Vermont. “Exploring academic curriculum with hands-on making gives a huge confidence boost to visual learners, and it builds buzz and excitement.”

Student enthusiasm isn’t the only benefit. The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) found that incorporating the arts into students’ regular curriculum improves language development, reading comprehension, and math scores—and the results were even more pronounced for students with special needs or from impoverished backgrounds.

Elliott has seen academic gains in her own classroom: “When you teach across multiple content areas at a time, you draw on more of a child’s knowledge and experience, which deepens understanding and makes the new content stick.”