Children of all ages love expressing themselves through art. However, it’s more than just a creative activity – it’s educationally beneficial for a number of different reasons. Read on to find out more.
In recent years, Art has become increasingly less prominent on the curriculum. Instead, schools are focusing more and more on subjects like math and the sciences, which are considered more ‘educational’ and of greater value in later life.
However, in Kiddit’s opinion, art is anything but a basic enrichment activity. Indeed, even the US Secretary of Education acknowledged that ‘arts teaching and learning can increase a student’s cognitive and social development.’ To further back this up, researchers in the past have found that art ‘is one of the best ways in which to involve the different modes of learning; through art, children learn complex thinking skills and master developmental tasks.’ (Belden & Fessard, 2001).
Why Use Educational Art And Craft Toys At Home?
Before investing in art and craft toys, it’s important to understand why they’re so integral to your child’s development. Here’s just a few reasons why learning art is so beneficial.
- Develop Visual Learning Skills – Art is, of course, a highly visual activity. We process the world around us using our visual awareness. Developing visual and spatial skills enables your child to interpret and interact more effectively with the world around them.
- Manage Emotions – Childhood can be an emotionally turbulent time, particularly when learning to adapt behavior to fit in with societal expectation. Art is an excellent, therapeutic way of expressing all emotions; positive and negative. This is really helpful for children who struggle to articulate their feelings, such as those with autism or Asperger’s.
- Develop Writing Skills – Many children find it difficult to hold a pen correctly when they start school. Allow them to wield a paintbrush from an early age and they’ll have a great head-start when they start learning to write, as they’ll already have developed fine motor skills.
- Gain Independence – Art is an empowering thing and is all about making independent decisions. Your child will thrive on the ability to make their own choices with regards to composition, color and shape. This also helps to develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which will help them in later life.
- Develop Advanced Cognitive Skills –Art requires a lot of cognitive powers. When looking at a famous piece of art, your child will need to use their cognitive ability to interpret it, and will use advanced thinking techniques to explore sub-text, technique and artistic intention. In their own artistic efforts, they’ll use cognitive powers to experiment with color, representation and placement of objects on the canvas.
- Enhance Math Skills –Through art, children can work with items such as beads, stickers or collage materials to create patterns, sequences, and positive and negative space. As Carla Farsi, math professor at the University of Colorado says: ‘Math is not just about numbers, formulas and logic, math is also about structure, symmetry, shape and beauty…. and also about rhythm, patterns and problem-solving.
- Support Literacy – Art can be used to support literacy by helping with comprehension. Drawing pictures of stories enables children to better understand what they have read, and artistic pictures in books may motivate them to read more.
Art At Home – Some Great Ideas
Art is a great subject to learn with your child at home, not least because it’s fun! After all, what could be more entertaining than covering a balloon with papier mache, molding with messy clay or painting with bright colors? With this in mind, here’s some of Kiddit’s favorite art-based activities.
- Take Art As Inspiration – Take a piece of famous art, such as a painting by Pollock, Suerat or Van Gogh. Encourage your child to explore it, talking about how the artist has used paint, and what effect they were trying to create. Then, let them loose on their own canvas and encourage them to try to paint like the artist themselves. Feel free to use other materials besides a paintbrush; sponges, sticks and even vegetables work very well too!
- Make A Foot Painting – Painting never has to be limited to just using your hands. Invest in some washable paints and a huge piece of paper (these can be bought on rolls) – and let your child use their feet to create a crazy painting! This is a particularly effective activity for encouraging more inhibited children to be expressive.
- Create A Collage – Several of the great artists of the past used collage in their works, most famously Picasso and Braque. Share their works with your child and examine what pieces they used to stick to their canvas. Then, take your child on a ‘gathering expedition’ to find material to use for their own art-work. This could be anything, including leaves and twigs, dried pasta and rice, and cut-outs from newspapers and magazines.
Establish An ‘Art’ Area
If you have the room, create a space which you can devote entirely to your child’s artistic activities, and make it their own. Invest in an easel, a set of drawers to store materials in, and a note board to stick their work on. If you don’t have the room, you can easily create a mobile ‘artist’s studio’, with a fold-down easel and stackable storage boxes for your paints and brushes.
Don’t be afraid to take your child on a visit to an art gallery too. Read up on the paintings yourself first – as if you understand them, you’ll be better equipped to help your child understand them too.
Educational Art Toys At Kiddit
The possibilities when it comes to art are almost limitless – which is one of the best things about it. By encouraging them to be artistic at home, you’ll not only be boosting their creativity, but you’ll be helping them to develop a number of great skills for the future.
For further inspiration, check out our range of arts and crafts educational toys and activities at Kiddit today!