“Art is a universal language and through it each nation makes its own unique contribution to the culture of mankind.” This is according to Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States of America. Reading this quote gives us a clear motive why art is important in nation building and culture development, especially among all men. So why do art with kids?
Other than developing culture, making history and nation building, art, in its many forms of expression, does a lot in a person, young or old. In this article, I would like to show the countless benefits it gives our children when we incorporate art in their everyday activities, be it for school, play or hobby.
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My very own son is more logical than artistic. He actually hates drawing, unless if it’s to compare the old and the new world map. Painting and gluing are icky for him and he tires easily when he is cutting. He is more into music though, he plays the guitar and loves to dance. This article is also for me to serve as a reminder to push more artsy and crafty activities because I know that it will do him good. Again, why is art with kids important? What do they get from it?
Art with kids help them develop their Visual Perceptual skills.
Visual Perceptual skills is a group of skills relating to what the brain perceives through the eyes. When the child frequently engages in art tasks, he is familiarized with colors, shapes, sizes and even symbols. He learns to name them and even “make” them by drawing, writing or designing. Older kids who make more complex art, are also adept with concepts like depth perception and figure-ground discrimination.
Art with kids develop their Fine motor skills.
Fine motor skills are the activities that the small muscles of your body, especially your hands, can do. You can read more about it here. Letting your child hold not just writing but any marking implement will help his hands and finger control it. Using a paint brush, a stamp or various household materials (like cotton, vegetable stems, etc.) in learning to write his name will also increase his motivation to learn while taking a break from a very structured mode of teaching. Clay and molding early sculptures also puts his tiny fingers in a workout while he enjoys exploring what shapes they can create.
The use of other tools also does his coordination skills well such as opening and closing scissors in cutting, pinning down a ruler and holding the pencil tip against its edge in making straight lines and using molders and sculpting tools in making definite shapes with clay.
Play and Brain development also occurs when you do art with kids.
The tool use mentioned above adds to the duration and complexity of play, also getting them ready to solve problems later in life. David Sousa’s paper, How Arts Develop the Young Brain, indicated that “..art activities engage all senses and wire the brain for successful learning.” While you might feel that your little one is making a mess or maybe trying to sing too loudly, he is actually growing his brain during that particular instant. So don’t stop him. Instead, encourage him to continue.
Art with kids subtly improve their Executive Function.
Executive Function is a set of mental skills that help us in our daily lives. An example is working memory, where you keep an information in your brain and do other things until such time that you need to use it such as submitting homework on deadline or paying a bill before its due date. Another executive skill is organization, which we all know at least something about. When doing or following multi-step art tasks, a child unconsciously sharpens his executive function skills without the need to fuss over it. Engage him in such art task then let him remember the steps. The task can ideally be about designing bins for him to put his stuff in. This will hit 2 executive skills at once: working memory and organization, when he uses the bins he himself designed.
Mindfulness is another perk when doing art with kids.
According to art therapist, Amy Maricle, “Art is a natural way to practice mindfulness. The colors, textures and sounds of creating pull us into the moment. You don’t need any previous training to meditate through art, just a willingness to draw like a child, with freedom and a sense of curiosity.” The repetitive painting strokes, stimulating dance steps, or heavy pounding of clay might just be the calming activities your stressed-out child needs. Why not join him for an art-filled afternoon? This way, both of you can achieve the calm state.
Self-esteem and Confidence are developed when you do art with kids.
Less structured and novel, art is a breath of fresh air. It is also more enjoyable to do and to complete, providing mostly an immediate gratification, which in turn gives one a sense of achievement. Repeated, this can help develop your child’s way of looking at himself. Encourage him to talk more about his art and to showcase it even to other people and his confidence will peak.
Creating art with kids also cultivates their Self-expression and Creativity.
Art has the ability to speak our minds with or without the use of words. It can be a creative outlet to express oneself, one way or another. Nevertheless, when preschool pupils are given art tasks and are cheered to talk about them, language develops. And since true art is free and unstructured, it turns our creativity button on and brings us in a zone of artistic imagination.
Lastly, in this article, at the least, if you hone your kids constantly with art, there are practical benefits that you can get.
Learning to play a musical instrument is a life-long gift you can give to him. Another is a possible collection of artworks that you can display in your home, give as gifts to loved ones or even sell for profit. Not to mention, the kind of bonding that you have when you spend time with him in art. This is probably the most special and rewarding.
I would like to help you to start art with them young, if you have small kids with you at home, please check here for a collection of easy-to-follow and simple-art-for-small-kids videos. It might direct you to Millennial Mammoth’s new You Tube Channel, so please hit the subscribe button after watching and doing your first art work!