Children are constantly learning through interaction with their world and one great way to encourage this is with art. The importance of art for children comes through painting and working with different materials, children not only learn how to see the world, they learn how to express that understanding to others. Give a child paint and paper and you give them a passport to awareness. Generally, little ones start with pictures of what they see around them: the family, their house, their pets, etc. But in time, their imagination and thought will allow them travel beyond the world they see everyday to the world they imagine in their minds.
Playing with colors and textures stimulates creativity
Every time a child draws something, they are honing a vital life skill—creativity. Creative thought will, among other things, improve problem-solving skills and help kids think “out of the box.” So, next time you’re tempted to see just a mess, view it as important work being done. As Fred Rogers explained, “For children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Don’t just tolerate the paint splatters and colorful chaos your child creates, encourage it. However, a nurturing environment can still be a neat one: cover your child’s art area with plastic and use water soluble paints for easy clean up at the end of the day.
Making art stimulates an interest in art
When children get to play Monet or dabble as Da Vinci, they develop an appreciation for others that “play” at art as well. In fact, they may even feel a connection with that painting they see in the museum. Inspiration provided by other artists starts a creative “feedback loop” that will increase a child’s passion for experimentation and pursuit of the arts. What’s more, studies have shown a strong correlation between art education and success in other academic subjects.
Art literally puts children in touch with life
At the beginning of their lives, children learn primarily through touch. Feeling different textures helps their sense of touch as well as creative development. When possible, provide art materials with a wide range of textures: projects that use cotton balls, crepe paper, burlap, even sticks and twigs can help children get a feel for the world around them.
Art also improves coordination
Working with paints and various other materials helps small children strengthen their fine motor movements and improves coordination. From learning to hold and manipulate different types of brushes, to gluing pieces of macaroni in place, to sewing simple patterns, the activities required for making art translate readily into skills needed for daily life. Whether or not a person goes on to make a living from painting or sculpture, they should understand that we are always artists, and there is always something to learn from our art.