Every Child Is An Artist
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. “
I am an Artist and Art Educator who owns a mobile art studio. I teach art workshops virtually and in person for libraries, schools, corporate and team building events, Girl Scouts, birthday parties…it’s a fun job! But before launching my business, I was a Nanny for 4 years to two adorable fraternal twin boys, and I learned that art was a resourceful tool in their brain development.
Those scribbles and colorful messes your toddler creates in preschool may seem, well, just a mess! But creating those are very important to their early development. Art is important for children, especially during their early years. Research shows that art activities develop brain capacity in early childhood. Art engages children’s senses in open-ended play and supports the development of cognitive, social-emotional and multisensory skills. As children progress into elementary school and beyond, art continues to provide benefits such as self-esteem, creativity, mastery of skills, and yes, still contributing to healthy brain development.
Learning to express one’s ideas through experimenting and playing with materials is the best way to encourage creativity in children. By providing materials like yarn, paint, paper, crayons, glue, and scissors, this gives the child tools to decide what they want to do with them. You can help by asking your child open -ended questions such as “What can you do with the yarn?” It also allows them to make their own decisions, thus developing reasoning and cognitive skills.
Developing Cognitive Skills
As children draw, paint, and make collages, they are exploring color, shapes, and size of objects, which translate into knowledge about the world around them. Being inquisitive, asking questions, and observing the world around them allows a child to plan, experiment, and problem solve. These are all crucial tools to use in life.
When children create, they are thinking about the world around them. Children often use art to express their feelings, ideas, and even fears, when they draw or paint. Art gives them a way to express these thoughts and feelings without having to talk about it. And in toddlers, it provides a way to express without using words, when language development is not yet there. Art helps children cope with the natural stresses of growing up. And yet another benefit of engaging in art activities allows the child to develop individuality, a sense of pride and self-respect, and appreciation for art.
When children use scissors to cut, or learn how to hold a pencil, or create brushstrokes with a paintbrush, they are improving control of the small muscles in their hands. This helps children develop fine motor control that they will need later in life for writing.
Talking about a child’s art with them helps develop their language skills. As they talk about shape, color, and size, they are learning and relating objects to each other, and explaining their process. These skills will continue to be crucial as the child further develops in school and in life.
What can you do as a caregiver, parent, or friend to encourage this process?
· Ask open ended questions- “Tell me about your picture”. You can also write down what the child says about their work, showing them how important their work is, and providing self-respect as well.
· Give children art vocabulary, which helps define their knowledge and understanding. You can talk about lines (straight, curvy, thick or thin) and colors (red in a traffic light, blue for the sky).
· Ask children about the process of how they created it and why. “How did you mix the paint to get that color?” This way, you can encourage the child to explain why they chose to draw or color an object a certain way.
Art is a process not a product
Finally, remember that creating art in the toddler years is a process, and doesn’t have to look “good” or “pretty”. Gently and openly guiding the child to create without boundaries allows for self-expression and learning. This has the greatest value for young children. Through self-expression and creativity, children’s skills will develop naturally. Creating art is allowing the child to experiment, create, and explore. And those things are messy, but also FUN! And who doesn’t want to have fun while learning in the process?
Anita Thompson is Artist and Owner of Artventure Workshops, a mobile art studio that provides art instruction and workshops for kids, teens, and adults. You can learn more about her by visiting her website www.artventureworkshops.com