In recent years, schools in India have shifted heavily toward common core subjects like science, languages and math, but what about the arts? Although some may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development.
Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be more important than ever to the development of the next generation of children as they grow up.
Developmental Benefits of Arts & Crafts on Children
Motor Skills: Many of the motions involved in making art, such as holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children. Milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors. Many preschool programs emphasize the use of scissors because it develops the dexterity children need for writing.
Language Development: For very young children, making art—or just talking about it—provides opportunities to learn words for colors, shapes and actions. When toddlers are as young as a year old, parents can do simple activities such as crumpling up paper and calling it a “ball.”
Decision Making: Art education strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. The experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art carries over into other parts of life.
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.
Inventiveness: When kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives. Art is a way to encourage the experience of thinking and making things better!
Cultural Awareness: As we live in an increasingly diverse society, the images of different groups in the media may also present mixed messages. If a child is playing with a toy that suggests a racist or sexist meaning, part of that meaning develops because of the aesthetics of the toy—the color, shape, texture of the hair. Teaching children to recognize the choices an artist or designer makes in portraying a subject helps kids understand the concept that what they see may be someone’s interpretation of reality.
Improved Academic Performance: Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievement. Kids who participate regularly in arts workshops are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement than children who do not.