Children and teens love art from scribbling on walls with crayons to painting imaginary space robots. Art isn’t just a fun and somewhat messy pastime. It offers more benefits than just a fun time. There are a plethora of benefits that stem from the arts.
Motor Skills and Language Development
Art offers a way to strengthen multiple types of motor skills in children. The movement of muscles sends signals from their nerves to our nervous system.
Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills involve large movements in the arms, legs, and torso. They help to improve coordination skills. Activities such as drawing and painting on large paper pads help to strengthen them using large movements.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscles in the hands and fingers. Strengthening these muscles helps with skills such as writing. Activities such as drawing, scribbling, and cutting paper can help with these fine skills. Have younger kids cut up colored paper and glue them on a larger sheet to make a mosaic piece. Origami is also another great art skill for fine motor skills.
Art allows for kiddos to discuss what they’re doing, colors, shapes, and so on. Ask them questions about what they’re working on and provide vocabulary when needed.
Other Benefits Include…
Self-expression is something very important. It’s how we reflect on our emotions, beliefs, and actions instead of shoving them deep down. When we’re able to express ourselves we share things. If a child is sad or happy, art can help express those emotions that they might not know how to handle yet.
Art helps to strengthen problem-solving and decision-making skills. This could be picking colors or choosing to paint rather than draw.
Improvement of Concentration
Art can often allow a child to focus on a piece of work. Kids who often struggle with concentration, those with ADHD or other disabilities, find art to be calming and focusing. It helps to increase attention span. This can be drawing and doodling. As an educator, I have seen this first hand.
Some art projects have specific steps that need to be followed. Things like sewing and painting kits are a good way to teach these crucial life skills.
Learning to take and give criticism is an important life skill that we can see show up in higher education and work. By having kids comment on each other’s art or famous art, they learn how to give proper constructive criticism as well as receive criticism.
Influences on School
Art can have a great influence on academics. It may not help improve grades for every child, but it can help improve things such as attendance. Kids who have an attachment to the arts may attend school at a better rate if they know that they have a chance to participate in art projects.
Speaking of art projects and classes, it allows for students to work together and form better bonds with whom they work. Art collaborations are a great way to form social communication skills.
Art is a great way of teaching children with disabilities, whether it is specific learning disabilities or those with sensory disorders. It allows for them to be on a level with their peers as art is often subjective by nature.
Art Therapy is a beneficial therapy program aimed to help kids or teens (even adults!) that allows them to express emotions or thoughts that they might struggle with doing verbally. It allows for a separation of thoughts from their head to whatever media they choose. Art Therapy is great for kids and teens dealing with childhood trauma, grief, anxiety, and so on.
Art therapy is not the same as art education. Art therapy aims for the personal development of the kid or teen. The therapist helps with creating coping skills or routines but does not teach art as a teacher does.
But J, does this mean hobbies can help kids?
Yes! I personally believe most hobbies, such as Gunpla and Warhammer, are art forms in themselves. So yes, if your kid wants to paint ain’t space robots or 40k chaos demons, go for it!
Want some recommendations or benefits to hobbies? Check out my previous blog “Scale Modeling is for the Kids”.
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Happy Monday everyone!
(Shoutout to Kyle, my favorite feedback giver)
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