How to get your kids into art

How to get your kids into art – words Alexa Wang

Children are an unbridled fountain of creativity, from scribbling on walls to inventing imaginary friends.

While these activities are (usually) something kids grow out of relatively quickly, the psychological benefits of childhood creativity can last a lifetime, if nurtured correctly.

With a little under two thirds of the world’s population identifying as visual learners, encouraging children in the visual arts can strengthen their ability to retain information imparted to them visually.

But there are other developmental benefits to encouraging your children in their artistic endeavours; below, we outline just a few, as well as some practical steps you can take with your kids to encourage their creative side. 

 

Why art can help your child’s development

Beyond visual learning, boosting your child’s creative spirit offers numerous benefits to their development; PBS notes that creating art can improve children’s motor skills and develop their linguistic ability. These two sides of cognitive development have been proved to complement each other, so giving your child the opportunity to describe what they have drawn, painted or molded from clay is invaluable.

Education professionals have also noted that a child’s social and cognitive skills can also be greatly enhanced through creative endeavours, particularly when it comes to working together with others on a project. The problem-solving side of crafting is relatively unheralded, but making choices about what to add to a painting, or deciding when a drawing is “finished” are positive psychological developments which your child will be able to apply to any situation throughout the rest of their lives.

Making art at home

The great thing about encouraging your kids to make art at home is that almost everything can be a resource. “Recycled art”, as it is known, gives new life to old loo rolls, while an old toothbrush can get a new lease of life as a paintbrush. Making sculptures and crafts in this way further expands on the imaginative thinking and improves children’s motor skills, which aids in their overall development, as well as potentially inspiring them to continue engaging with art later in life.

This sense of play is even embraced by major players in the art world; artists like Bill Woodrow and Robert Bradford use common household objects as the basis for their works. And while found object art may be slightly too abstract of a concept for children to grasp, the idea also allows them to think about the environment, giving them creative ways to dispose of unwanted objects.

Going to see art with your children

Galleries make for a great, free day out with children, and are becoming increasingly child-friendly, often to the annoyance of those living artists whose works are on display. Yet a recent study shows that the increase in children visiting galleries with their parents or schools is not just beneficial to the art institutions but the children themselves, leading to a “greater tolerance, historical empathy, educational memory and critical thinking skills.”

When taking your child to a gallery, actively discussing the art you are looking at can further improve their cognitive skills, and allows them to explain what they do and don’t like. It can also help you get ideas for your next trip. Encourage your child to ask you or a gallery worker questions about the artists on display—perhaps do a little bit of homework so you know a few facts in advance!—or follow one of the museum’s guided tours in order to have a sense of structure to your outing.

How to get your kids into art – words Alexa Wang