Art and Creativity: Why They are Important for Children

Arts and crafts are a great way to keep kids occupied. Playing around with paint, markers, construction paper and anything else you can think of from pipe cleaners to glitter can help kids stay focused on a project while also having fun. But encouraging kids to pursue an interest in arts and general creativity can do a lot more for them than simply increase their chances of becoming the next big artist. Art can help boost many areas of the brain, and it can also help kids learn skills that aid them in things like math, critical thinking, and understanding abstract concepts.

Studies have shown that activities like painting, drawing, and anything visually creative can do a lot to help kids develop mentally, socially, and emotionally. Being able to manipulate a paint brush or a glue bottle helps kids fine tune their motor skills. Playing with color not only introduces kids to colors and can help familiarize them with the basic names, but it can also be a window to visual learning. Drawing, sculpting with clay and threading beads on a string all develop visual-spatial skills, which are more important than ever. Even toddlers know how to operate a smart phone or tablet, which means that even before they can read, kids are taking in visual information. This information consists of cues that we get from pictures or three-dimensional objects from digital media, books and television.

By counting parts of a design, pieces of materials, and by simply counting colors, they learn the basics of math as well. But one of the most important benefits to encouraging a healthy relationship with art and creativity is self-confidence. Unlike other subjects, art and creativity, whether it be painting and drawing or acting and writing, is that there are no set rules and people are encouraged to push the limit, come up with new ideas, and express themselves in unique ways. This can be paramount for children who are still learning who they are and who they want to be.

Not only can art help boost a child’s skills in other areas, but it can help to enrich it as well. Just as reading can open kids up to books about particular subjects and not just fiction, art can be a gateway to other skills, interests, and life pursuits. Art much like reading can help kids learn how to effectively communicate with others by the skills they learn from making art and the cognitive skills they gain from interpreting it.

Below is a list of items you should have handy at home to boost your child’s creativity:

  • modeling clay
  • chalk
  • washable paint
  • paintbrushes
  • cotton swabs
  • sponges
  • stamps and inkpads
  • washable markers
  • crayons
  • colored pencils
  • plain and colored paper
  • tissue paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • craft foam
  • ice-pop sticks
  • chenille stems
  • pom-poms
  • feathers
  • felt
  • fabric
  • colored tape
  • buttons
  • cotton balls
  • sequins and glitter
  • ribbon, yarn, string
  • beads
  • packing peanuts
  • drinking straws
  • egg cartons
  • cardboard tubes
  • cupcake liners
  • paper plates
  • clothespins
  • plastic cutlery
  • magazines, newspapers, catalogs
  • wallpaper samples
  • wax paper
  • aluminum foil

It’s Never Too Early to Learn to Read

Reading is a key skill that can help with academics as well as in life. Critical thinking, understanding abstract concepts, effective communication and a slew of other skills can develop once basic reading fundamentals are mastered. On average, kids learn to fully read on their own by age 6 or 7, but reading shouldn’t wait for that age to start. Reading can start from the moment your child is born. There are many benefits to reading to your newborn, and it can be more helpful (and in more ways) than you think.

Quality Time

Even if your child is a newborn, reading to them can be extremely beneficial. They get used to your voice and they can experience the quiet calm that comes with storytelling. Even if your child cannot understand the details of the story you’re telling them, they are slowly becoming more acquainted with language and with you.

Brain Boosting

Research shows that the more words a baby is exposed to, the better prepared they are to start reading on their own when they’re old enough. Exposing kids to language can help them develop speaking and reading skills faster and it can also help them build an impressive vocabulary. Studies have shown that children who were read to as newborns generally have a larger vocabulary, as well as more advanced mathematical skills, than other kids their age.

It Still Garners a Response

Many parents who read to their newborns may actually notice their little one responding to the rhythmic movement of their parent’s voice with their little arms and legs. Reading has proven to help children learn to listen but also to see and hear what is around them, often eliciting a personal response as they become more familiar and try to interact, too.

Getting Emotional

Reading can help kids of all ages learn to empathize and sympathize. Older children learn to see the world through someone else’s eyes, exposing them to different hardships, problems, and general perspectives. For younger children, simply the tone of voice can say a lot about how a character is feeling as well. Your child can develop key listening skills that can communicate emotion and feeling without using outright words or simply stating so.

Visual Excursions

Since many children’s books include pictures and illustrations, reading to your child can open their minds to images, pictures, symbols, and more. Plus, the visual correlation between the story and the images on the page can help kids develop skills that will allow them to imagine and understand abstract concepts as they get older.

Making Reading Fun

Making it a part of your regular family routine will teach your child that reading is something to be enjoyed, not a chore that needs to be done for school.

How To Boost Your Child’s Memory

As time goes on and as people age, certain things may become more difficult. Retaining information and remembering certain things can become increasingly challenging, and as a result memory games are making a comeback among adults of all ages in hopes of boosting their memory skills and their overall brain functionality. It is never too early to promote a healthy brain, and there are plenty of ways parents can help boost their child’s memory. Whether you are helping a child who struggles with retaining information or is studying for a big test, or even if you are simply looking for fun, interactive games your children can play that will also boost their brain power, then here are some ways you can help hone your child’s memory.

Practice Visualization Skills

After reading a book, going on a trip, or even after a long day at school, ask your child to draw some pictures about what they did that day or what happened. Visualization is a great memory tool, not only for improving your child’s overall ability to remember details and keep them fresh in their mind, but it also helps with understanding abstract concepts and communicating abstract ideas.

 

Visual Memory Games

Speaking of visualization, visual memory games can help to significantly boost this area of your child’s brain. There are plenty of games like this on the market whether they are video games, apps, or physical board games. You can also make up your own games as well – ask your child to circle every instance of the word “the” in a magazine or play “I Spy” with the letters in license plates that drive past you on your next outing.

The Student Becomes the Teacher

If your child is struggling with a particular subject in school, ask them to teach you about it. This may be difficult at first, but they can start out by telling what they know before delving into what gives them pause. From there, as kids begin to explain the subject matter, they may develop a different understanding of it. By switching their point of view, kids can learn how approaching subjects from different angles can not only help broaden their understanding, but it can help them find out which methods help them learn best. Plus, kids will have to call upon their memory in order to teach you, whether they are teaching you about their homework or about the rules to a game they enjoy. Outside of schoolwork, this exercise can be applied to fun things and whatever interests your child has.

Playing Cards

Card games rely on memory a great deal, whether you are playing Uno, Go Fish or War. This can be a more indirect approach to building memory skills, plus these classic games can be played anywhere. Your child will have to keep the rules of the game in mind while also actively remembering what cards they have as well as which one’s other people have played.

Active Reading

Active reading can mean anything from taking notes and highlighting sections to asking questions and reenacting scenes from the last chapter. Adding additional activities to reading can not only make reading more fun and engaging, but it can help kids make connections and better remember the events of the story.