Children and Art

Posted Mar 22, 2019

March is Youth Art Month – a time to celebrate the power of art in childhood. Most of us have fond, or funny, memories of our own childhood masterpieces. As adults, many of us have curated Refrigerator Art collections. Some of us even exercise our own artistic muscles on a regular basis. We have all felt the powerful effects of art at some time in our lives.

That power is especially valuable for children whether they are an observer or creator. Your child doesn’t need to be a budding Rembrandt or O’Keeffe to benefit from art experiences. And the benefits are many including -

  • Small Motor Skill Development – Using hands and fingers to manipulate a variety of art materials builds small motor skills necessary for writing, play instruments, and other activities
  • Math Skills – Observing and interacting with shapes, sizes, and perspective increases understanding of basic math concepts and cause and effect.
  • Language Development – Talking about art styles, techniques, and materials increases vocabulary.
  • Social and Emotional Development – Creating art helps children learn decision-making, develop focus and perseverance, and build confidence and self-esteem. Art may also be a vehicle to help children express emotions and develop self-awareness.
  • Creativity – Hands-on open-ended experiences with art materials allows children to explore and develop their own creativity.
  • Visual Learning – Exposure to art increases children’s awareness of visual clues and messages, a very important skill in our increasingly visual society.
  • Cultural Awareness – Exposing children to art from a variety of historical periods and cultures expands children’s world view.

So how can parents provide art experiences for children – even very young children?

  • Make time for art activities.
  • Provide a variety of art materials for children including traditional crayons, markers, paints and paper to common household objects like boxes, paper tubes, and sponges
  • Support but don’t lead or prescribe art activities. For children, the benefits of art come from the process, not the final product.
  • Talk with your children about the art you see, as well as the art they create.  Talk about illustrations in picture books.
  • Visit Art Museums and Exhibits. There is still time to enjoy the Shorewood School District Art Show at the Shorewood Public Library. See the power of art in action created by students from Atwater, Lake Bluff, Shorewood Intermediate School, and Shorewood High School. The Show runs through April 2.

To read more about the benefits of art for children -

The Importance of Art in Child Development

Early Art: What It Means and How to Encourage It

Why Art and Creativity Are Important

The Art of Creating:Why It Is Important for Early Childhood Development


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