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How Art Encourages Creativity (And Other Development, Too)

If you’ve ever seen the look of delight or wonder that comes over a young child’s face when they first use a crayon to draw, then you’ve witnessed the effect that art can have on a child’s development. Art engages children on many different levels as it supports eye-hand coordination, creativity, and visual learning, among other developmental skills. And children often enjoy making art, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time and using inexpensive items, like recycled food containers or homemade materials. By encouraging young children to engage in artistic activities, parents and caregivers can help their children’s brain development and provide a useful source of stress relief, too.

According to several recent studies cited by the National Endowment for the Arts, art can also improve language development in young children. When parents talk with children about the art they are making, children learn how to describe visual elements like colors and shapes and build their vocabularies even as they fine-tune their motor skills. Parents can help build language skills further by pointing out the art around them – a mural on the side of a building or a painting in a doctor’s office – and having a conversation with their children about what they see.

Making art also helps young children express their emotions and provides a good outlet for stress. When children finger-paint or mold shapes with age-appropriate clay, they build their self-esteem and learn how to find comfort in quiet activities. By finding creative ways to include art in a young child’s life, parents can encourage their children’s social and emotional well-being.

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