Arts, crafts and creative exercises have long been an established part of teaching, learning and play for children – but, why exactly are they so important?
It may be easy to think of play and art as simply a pleasurable diversion for children, but it can have a profound impact on their development. Art and play can help children to expand their social and cognitive skills, has a lasting impact on personality and shapes the way that they approach and deal with problems.
So, let’s break it down and look at exactly why arts & crafts are so important for children.
Creativity & Expression
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of arts & crafts is that they help to boost children’s creativity and their sense of expression. Cognitively this is beneficial as it can help children to visualise abstract concepts and experiment with different forms of communication beyond speech or writing.
For some, creativity and expression can be thought of as less important than logic skills, however a strong creative foundation can have long lasting effects on how a child will grow up to think about and understand themselves and the world around them.
Patience & Delayed Gratification
Skills that many adults could also do with improving; patience and the ability to delay gratification can have a large impact on our health and social outcomes.
Evidence suggests that strength in delaying gratification directly translates to improved academic performance, social well-being and a decreased chance of being unhealthy or overweight.
Arts and crafts which require patience and time investment can help children to develop and improve these skills further. Almost all arts and crafts incorporate these elements, but longer projects like model building are especially well suited for this.
High detail models like those available from companies like Model Space, also have the additional benefit of helping to improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
While these skills may be more commonly associated with puzzles or logic problems, arts and crafts are another area which can help children to develop their critical thinking and problem solving.
Translating what you have in your mind into a physical depiction is a difficult and complex problem, which requires planning and adaptive behaviour. Just as a puzzle will present a challenge in traveling from A to B, so do arts and crafts.
The benefits only become more pronounced as children get older and more developed in their artistic undertakings. Constructing an oil painting on canvas, for example, requires planning the application of colour from darkest to lightest, drying times and texture build-up. Each of these elements will have a large impact on the end result, so it requires strength in problem solving and planning to approach this challenge effectively.
In much the same way, critical thinking and reflective thought are important aspects of art and crafts. We have all been in the position where we wish we had added one less stroke of paint, and these thought processes and skills are the key to recognising this, before taking the action we later regret.
It is clear that arts and crafts play an important role in children’s development, beyond simply being a fun past-time.
Whether you’re breaking out the paints, cutting up some cardboard or building a model, you’ll be helping your child to develop the skills that they need later in life – so, have fun!