The Importance of Art in Early Childhood Development

Art is a necessary part of your son or daughter’s early childhood, developing a variety of key areas to make them well-rounded little humans as they grow up.

Benefits of Creating Art

As they play with modeling clay or playdough, color/draw, or engage in other crafts, children feel a sense of satisfaction associated with being in control. They get to manipulate the mediums they are using as they wish, and get to independently make decisions about what they create and the materials they use. Creating art can also encourage a child to express their thoughts or feelings, build their self-esteem, and develop other important social skills as they share and negotiate with other children for art materials.

Creating art is also an activity in sensory exploration and motor development for very young children. They get to explore different materials, build their knowledge of these objects, develop hand-eye coordination and control of their small and large muscle groups. “The smaller movements … required to cut with scissors, model clay, or draw or paint on smaller surfaces develop fine motor dexterity and control. With repeated opportunities for practice, young children gain confidence in their use of tools for making art and later for writing,” as reported in Early Childhood News.

Benefits of Experiencing Art

Not only is the making of art an important sensory exploration activity to develop a child’s cognitive function, motor skills, and socio-emotional state, experiencing art is equally critical to their early childhood development. As a child encounters art in their everyday environments, they gain an enhanced sense for aesthetics and creativity.

With art throughout the home, a child gains an appreciation for things of beauty created by another person. They begin to develop an appreciation for the perspective of other artists, and identify the kinds of art that they enjoy. Child artists can be encouraged to offer each other feedback, which develops their social education through providing constructive criticism and praise. Art can also be used to enhance the child’s education in other areas, such as supplementing lessons on shapes, colors, and other visual aids. “Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it,” Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University, said in a PBS news article.

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