Art projects offer children the chance to build memory, labeling skills and physical dexterity. Simple projects, from finger painting to drawing pictures to choosing colors for an existing image, can empower a child.
Motor Skill Development
The ability to dab up paint and rub it on a piece of paper with your fingers is actually quite complicated. As children understand what pressure does to paint, how to maneuver their fingers through the paint field, and how to work in circles or straight lines all take that critically important brain to hand connection.
This early development can also allow children to build their powers of choice, definition and labeling. Folding the yellow paper requires a different mental process than folding the blue paper, even if the physical movements are the same.
Children often have to face big feelings and strong emotions when they don’t have the words yet. The power of art projects enables children to draw out their stories before they have to verbalize them.
Be ready to listen, ask questions and help children label any questionable images. Children see the world from a very different angle. Be ready to get down beside them to look at the story they are telling by their art and celebrate how they see the world and how they depict their view.
If you’ve ever read to a child, you know that there is a structure in place as soon as you open the book. The book contains the story, but you are the interpreter if the child can’t read yet.
By getting the child to draw out their stories, you turn them into the most powerful person in the communication process. You can also encourage young children to create longer narratives, build mental flexibility and expand their stories over time.
A small child may struggle to figure out volume. Five marbles in a small jar is a small amount, but five marbles in a long row may appear, to the child, to be more marbles.
Putting a toddler in front of a gridded paper and working through an art project with them can greatly improve their spatial understanding. You can also help them increase their counting skills as part of the project.
Be ready to make a mess when making art with the child. You can easily create an art station with a very small investment to help you contain the water, paint and glue. For example, you can
- use old yellow pages as a glueing surface
- tape watercolor paper to the bottom of a lipped cookie sheet to reduce splatter
- cover the art school floor area with cheap vinyl shower curtains
- use the tops of old socks to protect the child’s arms as they reach across paint and glue
Building a safe space for a child to express themselves, tell their story and make a mess will allow them to grow and build skills while playing. Reach out to places like Adobe Education Exchange for more information.
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