Did you know that simply spending time drawing and painting with your little ones can benefit their development in a multitude of ways?
In the essay Drawing Skills and Science Concepts in Young Children: A Study of Relationships, authors P. Laverne Nelson, Sue S. Martin and Vernoice G. Baldwin show significant relationships between drawing skills and abilities to perform cognitive tasks in young children. By improving their drawing skills, your children can develop many areas of brain function and gain other benefits, like spatial awareness and improving literacy.
Here are 7 benefits of drawing and painting for your children, and how you can encourage them to have more fun drawing and painting in order to gain these advantages.
7 benefits of drawing and painting
1. Developing fine motor skill
Holding a marker or a brush the right way can be challenging for young children, since they have to use muscles they haven’t yet gotten used to.
Some children may even refuse to hold a pen or brush, out of frustration with their lack of motor control.
Provide a bigger, easy-to-grip brush to encourage your child to explore drawing and painting. Once their fine motor skill begins to develop and they can coordinate their hand movements, they will even start to gain more independence in other daily activities such as feeding and dressing.
2. Becoming more observant
If your children struggle to reproduce an image they want to create on paper, they will be motivated to observe the objects around them more closely and recognize shapes and patterns.
As these skills improve, children learn to recollect their memory of an object and recreate the image by drawing its shape. Drawing helps children become more observant, which not only improves their learning skills in general, but also benefits their reading comprehension and reading speed in particular.
3. Spatial awareness and spatial cognition
The skills your child develops from drawing and painting activities can teach them a sense of direction and space as well as shapes, sizes and measurements, which promotes spatial awareness and cognition.
Spatial awareness means being aware of your surroundings in relation to your position, which gives rise to problem-solving skills, mathematical learning, and reading comprehension.
Drawing and painting expose children to two-dimensional representations that describe images with lines and points, and allow them to visualize and manipulate objects and shapes mentally.
Create a map with your children, starting from their house to the neighborhood playgrounds, parks and stores they go to frequently. Talk about the shapes of the houses, trees, and cars, and how they can draw them on paper.
4. Recognize shapes
Children become familiar with different shapes while recreating objects with their drawings. Shapes are fundamental concepts that are closely related to mathematical learning and form the basis for an understanding of geometry, which helps children organize visual information and pay attention to details.
Discuss how things like the sun and a basketball share a resemblance, and how the moon changes its shape throughout the month. Help them recognize the shapes from their surroundings and trace them on paper.
5. Improve literacy
It’s exciting to think that by enjoying drawing and painting from an early age, your children can be early readers—without going through tedious hours of phonics practice.
Research done by Noella Mackenzie on Improving children’s literacy through drawing shows that children can improve their literacy by doodling and having fun creating meaningful drawings.
Help your child enjoy creating lines and shapes to express their ideas through art. Those lines and shapes that your children have fun creating will guide them to understand letters and facilitate their learning in general.
6. Become more creative and imaginative
Drawing and painting can be powerful tools for children to express their ideas without limits. They can create any color of animal they can imagine, and have the freedom to bestow wings or horns to whatever creature they like. Help your children create something outside of their reality to see the limitless possibilities, and invite them to show the hugeness of their imaginations through art.
7. Promote mental calmness and emotional soothing
Encouraging your children to have go-to coping mechanisms during emotionally stressful times can guide them to maintain good mental health throughout their lives. Knowing how to handle their own frustrations and anxieties from an early age can help your kids navigate emotional turmoil as they grow older.
Drawing and painting can have a soothing effect for your children. Help them adopt art as a hobby they can enjoy, especially during emotionally stressful times.
How to help your child get more enjoyment out of drawing and painting?
1. Explore a variety of materials
Let your children try drawing with anything from pencils or crayons to markers or pastels. Painting can be done with more than just a paintbrush—try cotton balls, Q-Tips, or even sliced potatoes or carrots.
Give them egg cartons or big cardboard boxes to draw and paint on and turn into imaginative things like houses or boats. Giving them abundant choices of materials to handle while creating their art can increase their interest.
2. Let them get messy
Give your children the freedom to get messy with their hands when creating art, to gain additional sensory learning benefits. Let them explore the different textures of paints and surfaces of materials such as pavement, stones, wooden sticks or boards.
Once you’ve let your children explore, they have an art piece that shows the traces of the fun they’ve had. These exciting activities can help them associate ideas around art with fun and exciting projects.
3. Have a designated art gallery
Displaying your children’s artwork in a designated area of your home serving as an art gallery can boost your little ones’ motivation. Looking at their finished art projects can raise their self-esteem while motivating them to continuously create new projects.
If you don’t already have a designated art gallery for your children, creating one on an empty patch of wall space can be a fun and easy project in itself. Having a space dedicated to displaying their artworks will not only help your kids keep up their own art activities, but it also adds a charming accent to your home’s decor.
4. Join a contest
If your children are competitive or enthusiastic about art, try joining some drawing contests to further motivate them. By joining contests, your child can gain a sense of achievement and approval. It’s not just about winning—going through the process of completing a project from start to finish and rising to the challenge of creating something related to a given topic can be a rewarding and meaningful experience for your child, that will prepare them for competitive experiences later on in life.
5. Help them learn to develop their own skills
If your child is not happy about their drawing, you can always provide them with assistance to improve their drawing and coloring skills.
There are many step-by-step drawing books and free drawing tutorial videos online that can help your child improve their drawing and painting techniques.
By encouraging your children to explore drawing and painting from an early age, you can boost your child’s fine motor skill development and brain function, enabling him or her to become a better learner.
Also, children can improve literacy, problem-solving skills, and mathematical thinking. Finally, drawing and painting can help your children expand their creative imagination while providing them with a self-soothing technique for whenever they go through emotional distress.
Parents can also help children have extra fun by providing an assortment of materials and letting them get messy while they explore, as well as creating a home gallery for them to display their artwork. Help older children develop their drawing skills by providing lessons and books while finding opportunities for them to join contests to increase their motivation and gain a sense of accomplishment.
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