Exploring Art With Your Kids
Lack of funding for arts programs in schools is a key issue that has worsened in the US over the last 2 decades. People have very heated opinions about the subject, but there really is no reason you cannot help your kids explore the arts and plenty of reasons why you should.
Naturally, the first thing that people think of when you mention benefits to teaching kids the arts are the visual learning benefits. Whether your child is making macaroni necklaces, sketching with charcoal or crayons, or sculpting with Play Dough, they are developing critical visual/spatial skills. Before children can even read, they are absorbing visual information, and taking cues from creative projects helps them to develop skills they’ll need across all areas of development.
Additionally, children learn to safely take risks and express themselves when creating any kind of artwork. This helps them to better develop the ability to innovate, be more creative, and adopt new lines of thought. Along those same lines, we find that children who are more active in the arts tend to be a bit more culturally aware than those who are not. While yes, the perspectives they develop will probably be rooted in their parents’ ideals and value systems, learning to create their own expressions of the reality around them helps them better understand this in others.
While the creative benefits are probably fairly obvious, there are actually a host of developmental benefits to encouraging the arts with your children, as well. No matter what the medium, whether it’s holding charcoal or wielding a paintbrush- can help with the growth of fine motor skills in toddlers.
As a matter of fact, the National Institutes of Health has stated that by the age of 3, small children may be able to draw a simple circle. By age 4, they can be able to draw squares. However, you don’t have to limit your child by milestone. Help direct their learning and let them take it where they will.
One area that most people do not realize just how beneficial encouraging your children to work with visual arts is language. Talking to your child as you show them colors, shapes, and actions can help even a 1 year old to learn to use descriptive words and later, talk about their feelings more easily. Going further, in a recent report published by Americans for the Arts, teaching your children about art can actually help them with critical thinking and problem solving skills.
There have been a number of studies done that reflect that there is a correlation between learning the arts and other academic achievements. Some studies have shown that children who were active in the arts were about 4 times as likely to also to not only participate more fully in science and math, but also, be recognized for higher levels of academic achievement.
We are fairly passionate about teaching children to work with various mediums around our house. We have both home-schooled and public schooled children, so it’s really something of a focus for us. One of the biggest assets, and I am sure the educators out there reading will agree is that direct parental involvement in children’s education- whether that be sitting down with the crayons and teaching them to color or just letting their imaginations run free, is essential to their intellectual and creative growth.