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It’s almost expected that when you have children, you’ll have a cupboard full of art and craft materials. From crayons and paper through to paint, stamps and scraps of material, children of all ages love arts and crafts. What many parents don’t realise is just how important it is to foster and encourage arts and crafts during their child’s early years. Sure, it makes a mess, but it also gives them opportunities to explore and interact with their surrounding environment, as well as giving them the opportunity to learn how things work.

Art is essentially a language, one that helps us express our ideas and emotions in a way that makes sense to us. It allows us to develop ideas, and provides a creative outlet for us to grow, stimulate our creativity and nurture our souls. Art stimulates the brain with sounds, movements, and colours. Arts and crafts are an effective outlet for adults, and extremely beneficial for children under three.

Once you are aware of the many major developments that art can assist with, you’ll be pulling out the crayons and paper in no time and letting your little Picasso get to work.

Motor Development

Developing hand eye coordination and fine motor skills is essential for young children, and art is a fun way to help these skills along. Art and craft activities such as playing and sculpting with play dough and drawing with crayons and pencils develop the visual skills and allow a child to learn to make choices – what colour they may want to use next or what part of their play dough needs to be rolled into a ball and what part needs to be flattened.

Using crayons, pencils, paintbrushes and scissors can help develop the grip that is required to not only feed themselves with cutlery but also give them the basic building blocks when it comes to writing in just a few short years.

Emotional Development

If you’ve ever seen the artwork of young children (and most of us have) we know that they usually aren’t creating anything in particular but they are certainly having fun! The feel of wet paint on their hands (and often feet and bellies), the sound of a pencil while scribbling on paper and the feel of pom poms as they stick them onto a card all bring a sense of joy and achievement. In turn, this provides a sense of knowing they have control over what they are working with and what they can do with those materials. Small decisions in these early years allow a child to express themselves and art is a great way for them to do this.

Social Development

While many children will be too young to give other children feedback on their art, for those in the under 3 age group will benefit from sharing, taking turns and working together, all of which goes towards a growth in their social development. As children get older, they may give other children feedback or assist other children in making decisions on their artwork such as colour selection. Children will often have fun trying to guess what their friends have drawn.

Cognitive Development

Children learn by exploring the world around them, and art offers plenty of exploratory activities for children of all ages. It can help them learn about cause and effect – drawing a line on a piece of paper suddenly makes colour appear for example; or even how two objects interact with each other – mixing different coloured paints or using glue to paste coloured paper together. Development can truly be seen with the use of art – your child’s artwork will turn from exploratory splodges, scribbles and handprints to representing real people, things, feelings and locations. Your child will start drawing their family, their pets, their friends and their favourite places, and can show emotion on the faces of these people. When your child is old enough, they will be able to make up short stories using these drawings to show parts of their story.

Art truly is one of the best creative outlets for younger children, particularly those under three where their brains and bodies are going through rapid development. Children tend to enjoy art, and as they get older, will certainly enjoy showing off their paintings and drawings.

At Treasured Tots we use arts and crafts as a way to help our children develop into healthy little people. Arts and crafts make up a component of our Wellbeing Program, allowing them to learn to understand themselves, their emotions and the world that surrounds them.

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