Innate skills that relate to motor and mental functions develop very early on in a child’s lifespan, and therefore it’s important to stimulate the development of these and other skills from an early age.
One of the best ways to help your child grow as a creative individual is through arts. Fields such as sculpting, painting and drawing provide the perfect playground for children to learn new skills, gain self-confidence and let go of fears through curiosity.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 skills children can learn through arts exercises, both individually or collectively.
1. Motor Functionality
As we’ve previously stated, a child’s motor functions develop from very early in their lifespan, and while everyday exercises do help, a child should be surrounded by a fun and creative environment to explore and play with their own movements.
Involving your child with art can certainly support this point, since it can potentially require from them to use their whole body in the process. That way, they will learn to associate movement with creation and expression through playful situations, which will lead to a much better physical conditioning down the line.
2. Creative Expression
We are all creative in one form or another. However, adults often forget “how to be children” due to factors such a rigorous education, society expectations and hectic everyday routines. To be in deep touch with our inner child means to keep the connection with our creative self.
During childhood creativity is at its peak, flowing wild and free, which makes it the best moment to expose children to activities that facilitate and feed their creative impulses. Artistic exercises will allow them not only to express themselves and articulate their thoughts easily and more clearly, but to define and develop their rising personalities.
3. Divergent Thinking
Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions – what is usually referred to “thinking outside the box”.
We are all born with the capacity to think creatively, but it decreases dramatically as we become adults. Researches show the core role of stimulating personality traits such as curiosity, nonconformity, willingness to take risks, and persistence in order to develop divergent thinking.
Involving children in artistic activities (drawing, painting – exploring different mixes of colours to express different emotions -, dancing, singing, acting, etc.), as well as surrounding them with rich stimulating environments in which they collaborate with others, will help them develop those personality traits that are fundamental to promote an independent creative thinking.
4. Task Dedication
The ability of children to learn to focus effectively and consistently is fundamental to their development into successful and happy people.
Nowadays the lack of focus is a widely spread concern in our society. Attention span can dramatically decrease due to technology overuse and to the frantic influx of digital information that surround us.
Beth Flanders, content manager at Studicus.com, spoke on the topic recently: “While it is wrong to blame your own parents for the way you were raised, that upbringing plays a large part in who you are today. Learning to dedicate your precious time and energy to an important project is something we should all be able to do without much effort – yet most of us struggle to do so.”
Children who are exposed to artistic activities are more prone to develop better focus and dedication to tasks.
Artistic activities carried out in a playful way provide a stimulating environment for children, who enjoy and feel immersed in their creative process, which leads naturally to a state of concentration and full dedication to what they’re doing.
5. Active Listening
Children are good listeners, especially when they’re involved in an immersive activity with their parents. Combining parental teamwork with artistic exercises provides the perfect environment to practice the giving-receiving feedback.
While you should never be too critic or harsh towards your child’s art, you should give your comment or acknowledgment on each artistic creation. This will activate the child’s ability to listen carefully and reflect about what they were told, planting the seed for strong active listening skills further in life.
6. Teamwork Orientation
When it comes to teamwork, art is the perfect medium for a shared playtime between parents and children, and also between children.
Encouraging children to work on the same canvases or papers simultaneously in order to create combined pieces of art will allow them to understand the meaning of participating in a group effort where everyone’s work is equally important.
Group dynamics are core in order to develop a sense of belonging that goes hand in hand with essential values such as empathy, generosity and self-regulatory strategies, which altogether will help children to better understand the fundamentals of society and the role they play in it.
7. Personal Confidence
It takes courage and self-confidence to present the own work to a teacher, a parent or a friend. This is especially true in the early years of development, when a child’s vocabulary and articulation may not be well developed yet.
These skills can be developed indirectly through artistic exercises that allow the child to express themselves freely without any judgment or criticism; just letting them be and rewarding them for it.
This simple mechanism will nourish children’s self-confidence and freedom to express and be themselves, providing them with core tools for the future when they grow out of their young shell.
8. Worth & Value
Giving a child a box of crayons or some sculpting clay to play with is a great way for them to experience the steps and skills involved in the process of creation, and also to grow awareness about the value of their own work.
Children should always have art tools at their reach to play with, and they should learn to treat them consciously. Encouraging them to reuse the leftover materials in their next project is a great way to teach them the value of things.
9. Time Management
Whenever arts are presented as an exercise in a classroom, they are time-based and very limiting. However, this can work in your favor as a parent if you want to put them in practice at home.
Ask your child to draw something for you and tell them that you will say “stop” after a few minutes. Whatever they’ve drawn in that time will be the final product of the arts exercise.
By limiting the child’s time to complete a task (always within a relaxed atmosphere in which the child feels comfortable), you will be allowing them to activate time-management and organisation strategies.
10. Memory & Association
Having strong memory abilities helps the child process information more quickly, and therefore it enhances their learning process.
Due to the creative and active nature of artistic exercises, children who develop their artistic skills have an easier time creating associations in their work. This, in turn, leads to better memory and associative abilities, especially on children whose artworks show a deep attention to details.
In summary; there are very few more approachable and easier activities to manage than arts when it comes to young children.
Find some time to play with your child and introduce them to a world of drawing, painting or sculpting where they feel free to express themselves. Not only you will be nourishing the bond with your child, but also growing their skill set, encouraging them to express their true self, and stimulating their holistic development.