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Fun, everyday ways to boost children’s early brain and language development through art

Imagination develops early in life, laying the foundation for a lifetime of creativity. There are many wonderful ways you can encourage children to get creative – whether it’s through painting, drawing, building, or pretend playing! Whatever your child is creating, it’s important to focus on the process rather than the final product. One way to do this is by talking, asking questions, and telling stories with your children as they engage in creative activities.

Here are a few simple art activities for young children and tips on how you can build their language skills:

  • Finger painting is a fun way for young children to learn about colors. When your child finishes his art project, ask questions like: “Can you tell me about the colors you used?”
  • Help your little one create shapes and patterns with playdough. It’s a great way to introduce early math concepts. Ask, “What shapes and patterns can we make?”
  • Let’s draw! Provide your child with crayons to scribble or draw on paper or all-around a cardboard box. When she’s done, encourage her to talk about what she drew by saying, “Tell me about your picture.”
  • Go on a nature walk. Parks and backyards are filled with natural materials that can be used for art projects! Ask them to describe the things they’ve found, “What do you see? What does it feel like? Smell like?”

Imaginative Play

Imaginative play is a great way to combine fun and learning! It helps children take different perspectives and learn to empathize with others. It can also teach children how to think outside the box – a critical ingredient for strong problem-solving skills!

Here are a few ideas on how you can encourage imaginative play:

  • Use your imagination! Simple everyday items like cardboard boxes, egg cartons, plastic containers, and newspaper are perfect props to spark young imaginations. Transform a cardboard box into a car and drive around the house! Spark a conversation by saying, “Today, let’s pretend we are going to…”
  • Let’s play a guessing game! Play an imaginative guessing game. You can say: “I’m imagining my own costume. It’s going to be red. I am going to wear a hat and carry a hose. I will ride on a red truck. What am I?” Let your child guess or ask more questions to figure it out. Then see if your child can give you clues so you can guess the costume she is imagining!
  • Let’s rhyme! Make up fun rhymes together. Ask your child: “What rhymes with “zoo”? Moo! Boo! Soo!”
  • Pretend to be animals! Take turns picking an animal and pretend to move and sound like them. Ask, “What kind of sound does a chicken make? How does it move? Eat? Sleep?”
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