As school classrooms become more focused on math, science, reading and writing excellence, our children may be missing out on some of the most important skills they can learn—appreciation of and active participation in the arts.
Fine arts can include much more than drawing and painting. They include music and drama. They encompass many kinds of artistic expression such as working with clay, creating mosaics, three dimensional paper creations, puppetry and making mobiles. They include photography, cooking, flower arrangement—any activity in which self-expression bursts forth.
Children naturally love to engage in art projects. The creative process is motivating in itself—an invitation to create something unique. There isn’t just one answer in artistic endeavors, rather there are infinite possibilities. And that’s good for children.
Child development specialists tell us that the left hemisphere of the brain is used in logical thinking and analytical processes—basically our math, reading and science lessons. The right hemisphere of the brain is used in our emotional, intuitive and creative activities—artistic types of activities. Ideally our children need to develop both sides of the brain and the sides must work together for optimal learning success.
It’s not only beneficial to expose our children to the fine arts, it’s fun. And you might be surprised at the learning that takes place while a child paints or molds playdough or plays the part of Peter Rabbit in a simple play.
Here are 12 benefits of engaging in artistic projects:
Providing experiences for your children in the fine arts can be as simple as supplying an art corner in your family room. It can be singing songs together or reading poetry aloud. You can make homemade playdough or use old socks to make puppets. It doesn’t have to cost money or take a lot of time.
You may also choose to enroll your children in music lessons, art lessons or drama classes. You may take them to local art museums and introduce them to folk art, sculpture or oil paintings. Whatever efforts you make to expose your children to the arts will pay off in their motivation, expertise and joy in creative learning.
So get artsy with it and watch your children bloom.
Jan Pierce, MEd, is a retired teacher and freelance writer who specializes in parenting, education and family life. She is the author of Homegrown Readers: Simple Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read.
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