There are so many benefits that come from engaging in artistic activities, whether it be manipulating playdough or creating a watercolour landscape painting. By exploring art on a regular basis, your child will learn more about themselves and the world around them.
Art activities allow young children to develop fine motor skills and improve their communication through discussion of colour, texture, process etc. Older children can take responsibility for tidying up and looking after tools and materials and they can gain a sense of pride in the work they have created when it is displayed in the home or given as a gift. Most importantly though,setting aside time for regular art exploration can help your child to become a creative and imaginative thinker.
From their earliest days, children are observing, exploring and testing the world around them. They learn from their mistakes and persevere until they achieve. Young children are the creative experts. With wild imaginations that send them to far off lands, they have no fear of getting things wrong and will happily break conventions. A bicycle can fly into space and a dress wearing carrot can be their friend. Anything is possible!
However, as they grow, creativity often dwindles. Children start to believe that there is a right and a wrong way of thinking or working, probably because this is what our education system and society so often tells them. They stop taking risks and start to fear failure.
If we want our children to become the confident, imaginative problem solvers that our future needs, we must nurture their creativity. Open ended, process based art activities are a great way to do this. With a few simple materials and the time and freedom to play and let their ideas evolve, children can gain the confidence to take risks and overcome setbacks. They can use their imaginations to innovate and solve problems and they start to understand that there can be many different ways to approach a task. This in turn helps them to see other points of view, embrace diversity and have empathy for others.
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated or expensive. Children can make magical machines out of recycling materials. They can create a cartoon strip with just a pen and paper or make an abstract sculpture with plastercine and pipe cleaners. There are so many opportunities to be creative and our children are the ones that can lead the way.
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If you want to find out out more about children’s creativity, here are some great links:
Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson champions a radical rethink of our school systems in order to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.
Earlyarts explains how creativity can impact on young children’s brain development.
Gever Tulley demonstrates the valuable lessons kids learn at his Tinkering School where young imaginations run wild and creative problem-solving takes over.