I teach a weekly art class at a Children’s Center in Adelaide, South Australia. The opportunity to engage youngsters in messy, creative, colourful art not only teaches them to expand their ideas beyond their current capabilities, but it also inspires in me sparks of creative ideas and energy. Sometimes it can be a little trial and error but it enables moments of exploration and challenge. Both the children and I get a great kick out of it and we always make sure we work together to clean up afterwards. It’s an important part of being a community. Engagement in art increases children’s creativity, imagination, playfulness, risk taking, and visualization, all of which are important for thinking skills involved in English and any of the STEM subjects. It motivates them to try new ideas, express their feelings and see how other people express their thoughts and ideas. It strengthens their fine motor abilities, coordination and manipulation abilities. Such wonderful things can be learned from art.
Most importantly it teaches children that they are an individual with powerful ideas that are worth sharing. I love seeing what they all come up with from a given task. Every single one of them produces a completely different idea. I find that simply magic. If you are a parent who often watches art from the sidelines not wanting to get messy or thinking that you “just aren’t very creative”, I encourage you to get in their with your child. In fact, that’s the best place to start. Sit with your child, get the pastels, the paints, the charcoal or simply just the pencils out, and see what your child will inspire you to do. Let loose and have fun!