Why is art important for early childhood development?

Why is art important for early childhood development?

“Art is a place for children to learn to trust their ideas, themselves and to explore what is possible.”
Maryann F Kohl (award-winning art activity book author)

Art is an amazing opportunity for children to invent, experiment, take risks, grow, break ‘rules’, make mistakes and have fun. As well as being fun and explorative, art plays a more important role in child development than we might think.

Art helps develop:

~ fine motor skills (holding pens, crayons and paintbrushes)

~ cognitive development

~ visual-spatial processing

~ creativity

~ language skills

~ self esteem

~ maths skills (shapes and sizes).

How can we encourage children to engage in creative activities?

Most children don’t need much encouragement and love to get stuck in! There are a few things that are worth keeping in mind as a carer/parent to make the experience as empowering and fruitful for a child as we can:

~ provide children ample time and space 

~ provide safe and interesting materials that kids can use on their own. Try textured cardboard, paper, boxes, bottle lids, play dough, crayons, paint, chalk, potato stamps… the list is endless! 

~ use open-ended comments that will encourage child to explore.

~ remember that the most development occurs in a ‘free play’ state when it comes to art – try not to lead or direct.

~ No agenda is the right agenda – try to avoid having a specific plan or goal in mind and let the creative process make its own way.

Finally, it’s important to remember it’s all about the journey, not the end destination or product. Unstructured play helps kids work with intrinsic motivation and builds self confidence. 

Most importantly – have FUN! 

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