By Diane Ako
Activities such as coloring, drawing and painting are part of most children’s lives. Exploring visual arts is an enjoyable activity for kids, and has proven brain-boosting benefits. In fact, making art is the perfect example of learning through play. (In fact, Olivia and I have started to sketch together just this year, and through this I've developed a liking for drawing!)
“Creating art can play a crucial role in strengthening the brain’s attention system, and helps children to develop fine motor and memory skills,” says Richard Peterson, Vice President of Education for childcare educator Kiddie Academy. “In addition to the cognitive benefits, parents can boost a child’s self-esteem and encourage more art activities by proudly displaying their children’s creations in an ever-changing at-home art gallery.”
Here are five tips for adding more art to your child’s daily routine:
1. Think beyond the white sheet of paper or a coloring book and crayons. Provide a wide variety of mediums for drawing and creating, including newspaper, felt, foam, aluminum foil, wax paper, sandpaper, printed paper, laminated paper, chalkboards and whiteboards.
2. Utilize imaginative drawing materials, such as finger paints, chalk, shaving cream, colored pencils, vegetable stamps and foods such as pudding in addition to the standard crayons and markers. Adding a new way to draw can spark a child’s imagination.
3. Encourage your child to use both scissors and non-toxic glue (with supervision) when creating their art projects. Cutting and pasting are two skills every child needs in school, and each take practice in order to master.
4. Repurpose printed materials you already have to give your child more exposure to the printed word and strengthen literacy skills. Junk mail, catalogs, magazines and coupons are perfect starts for many creative projects.
5. Allow for messy play on occasion. Not every day needs to involve a bath following an art project; however, messy activities can be both educational and memorable for your child. Whenever possible, move messy art project outside to allow for easier clean up.
For more creative art and play ideas, parents can visit Kiddie Academy’s Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/kiddieacademy/, where you’ll find multiple boards full of educational activities, art projects and even recipes for DIY art materials.