There’s much more to your child’s artwork pasted on the fridge than meets the eye.
Even if your little one’s masterpiece just looks like a bunch of colourful squiggles, the truth is that children’s art is much more than fun and games. Creating art helps children interact with the world around them and express their understanding of it. And most importantly, creating art helps children develop vital life skills.
Here are some of the key areas of child development which can be enhanced by exploring arts and crafts:
Art is a tool which helps children visualise their thoughts. When they create something, they are communicating on a visual level - even if it seems like they’ve just put some random daubs of paint onto a piece of paper! Art transcends the spoken word and can be a way for children to express feelings and experiences that they may not be able to verbalise. Art can also help develop children’s verbal skills as they talk through their creative process and discuss their work.
Children need to develop dexterity and strength in their little hands in order to develop their fine motor skills. Manipulating art materials is excellent for this as well as for improving the child’s bilateral co-ordination skills as they learn to use both hands simultaneously. Fine motor skills are necessary for many aspects of self-care for a young child such as tying shoelaces and doing buttons, feeding themselves and cleaning their teeth as well as for learning to write.
When children are given an art or craft project, they explore ways of solving challenges. Why is my paint running so much? Why won’t my paper mache sculpture stand straight? The dried pasta is not sticking to the paper - what can I use instead? Why have I created brown paint when I thought it was going to be green? Children make their own assessments when creating art, they explore different possibilities and discover new solutions.
Art helps the development of the right side of the brain (the creative and intuitive side) but it’s also good for stimulating the logical left side too. Children learn about measurements, they can learn to count and sort their art supplies and they learn about different shapes. All of these are important building blocks for developing their mathematical abilities.
Social and emotional skills
When a child creates an artwork, they start learning about the concept of self-control. They learn that they control their efforts and that they’re responsible for what they produce. They learn that mistakes are OK and that they often open up other avenues and opportunities for discovery.
Art is a good way of reinforcing the concept that each child is unique and capable. They learn that a sense of accomplishment builds self-confidence and is important for a positive self-esteem. Art can also teach children important social skills like sharing, collaboration, respect and appreciation for other people and patience (especially when paint or glue takes time to dry!)
Creativity and self-expression
It is important to remember that children’s art is not about showcasing talent or creating a masterpiece. The outcome isn’t a ‘product’ but rather a process of exploration, discovery and experimentation which emphasises the child’s interpretation of an experience. Art is a tool for a child to make meaning of their world and through creativity and self-expression, the child’s skills will develop naturally.
Art is an important daily activity at our three Treasured Tots child care centres in Mandurah, Fremantle and Bibra Lake.
Families are encouraged to get involved in their children’s art journeys and the walls of our centres are filled with their creative discoveries. At Treasured Tots, we strive to create warm and loving places where creativity and learning are visible, where laughter can be heard and where energy is felt and we invite you to visit us to experience quality early education in action.
Please visit www.treasuredtots.com.au to find out more or to book your tour of one of our Perth child care centres.