Why provide art experiences for children

Most of us know that art is important and beneficial for children. Those of us who work with children can  see  that  they  get  involved in art and seem to enjoy exploring different materials, textures, techniques and projects. There is much research supporting the idea that art is important to children’s development.
Creating and exploring art expands children’s’ ability to interact with the world around them and helps them build and fine tune skills needed for self-expression and communication. Art may just seem like fun and paint on paper, but what many people do not realise is that children are actually learning a lot through participating in openly expressive, creative activities.
Art experiences teach children valuable lessons that can be applied throughout life; art also helps children develop social & emotional skills. They can practice sharing and taking turns, as well as appreciating each another’s efforts, rather than always being in competition with each other. Through the artistic process, children can learn to both appreciate and be proud of their efforts and hard work, while enjoying the work of their peers too. Art also fosters positive mental health by allowing children to show individual uniqueness as well as success and accomplishment. These are all part of developing a positive self-image and esteem.
In addition to helping children build strong social and emotional skills, art also helps children develop communication skills. Younger children can express things through art that they don’t yet have language for. This is why art is frequently used by child psychologists. A child can use art to represent an actual experience, such as playing in the park, which can help release feelings they may or may not be able to express verbally.
Research has shown that art helps develop problem solving skills by encouraging children to explore and find creative ways to solve problems.
When children explore art, they are often testing possibilities and working through challenges. Mixing colours, what can be glued? Etc.
When providing art experiences for children, start with some basic supplies and add to them as you go. Paper, felts, crayons, pencils, chalk, paints and brushes is a good start. Give children time and space to create and keep it simple in the beginning. Collect coloured paper, ribbon, magazines etc for collage.  Art  does  not need to be an expensive experience. Check your recycling and other things at home that can be reconstructed, glued, cut up and painted. Use good, proper children’s scissors. Left handed ones for left handed children. Show off your children’s creations to other families members; let their picture take its spot on the fridge! Suggest your child makes greeting cards and wrapping paper for special events and gives their art as a gift.
Participating in art activities  has  been  proven to help children develop cognitive, social and emotional skills they will need throughout their lifetime. Art helps children develop creative problem solving skills and learn to communicate thoughts, feelings and ideas in a variety of ways.
Remember to engage your young children in art as much as possible and try not to judge their work or compare it to others. Let them express their thoughts freely and creatively and you will help them to develop healthy cognitive, social and emotional skills that will lead them to be successful, well-adjusted adults.