6 reasons why art and crafts are important for child development
Have you ever wondered why art and crafts are so important for child development? And for children age 3 – 8 experts say it is the most important way to help them grow and develop. That’s why they do so much of it at kindergarten and primary school in Hong Kong, Singapore and all around the world! As a kindergarten teacher and mother, I can personally vouch for the benefits first-hand as I started doing arts and crafts at home with my daughter Kelly from a very young age.
Kids love to do arts and crafts and it’s important for them to practice it both at school and at home.
Here are 6 important areas of child development that you can help your kids practice by doing art and crafts with them at home in Hong Kong.
1. Motor skills
When kids use their fingers to manipulate art materials they are developing their fine motors skills as they use those small muscles in their hands. Their bilateral coordination skills improve as they learn to use both hands at the same time.
All this happens when they paint, colour, glue and cut. The quicker their fine motors skills develop the more they can do on their own, from eating by themselves to tying their own shoelaces. I remember when we first taught Kelly to tie her laces, she could tie them herself after a day! Amazing!
Early child literacy skills in art and crafts cover a wide range of areas – from speaking and reading to listening and understanding. When kids make art or crafts they get to talk about their work which develops their communication skills. “Why did you choose that colour?” “Tell me about what you made.” They learn new vocabulary from parents and when following verbal instructions they use their listening skills. A skill all parents want our kids to grasp as soon as possible so they can start listening to us! (Kelly is still practising this one!)
As children become toddlers, they experience, to varying degrees, rapid development of communication skills, motor skills, and perspective-taking (or the ability to see from “someone else’s shoes”)
3. Math Concepts
Basic math skills are often not thought of as being part of art and crafts activities. But math skills are used frequently and have a positive effect of developing mathematical skills in preschool children.
Kids get to learn about and recognise different shapes, count and sort out their art supplies and even measure out lengths and sizes of art materials. To master math, you need good thinking and problem-solving skills which art and crafts activities help with as well.
Art allows kids to develop their creativity which is important throughout their lives. By doing something creative, you allow for self-expression and this lets kids express (and cope with) their feelings. It also fosters mental growth in children by providing opportunities for trying out new ideas, new ways of thinking and problem-solving.
I came across this interesting article about Mary Ann Kohl who is the author of numerous award-winning art idea books for children. In an interview, she says “In children, creativity develops from their experiences with the process, rather than concern for the finished product. Creativity is not to be confused with talent, skill, or intelligence. Creativity is not about doing something better than others, it is about thinking, exploring, discovering, and imagining.”
Art and craft activities give kids a sense of achievement and allow them to take pride in their work which builds confidence. Making art is a great, safe way to discover that it’s okay to make mistakes and that getting things ‘wrong’ can lead you to a whole new idea. Kids get to try new things and also develop their “self-regulation skills” (e.g. when waiting for paint or glue to dry). This helps them develop patience, which all kids need help with! Even me sometimes!
6. Quality time / Parent Bonding
Kids just love to spend time with their parents and what better way than to do arts and crafts together! You get to spend quality time bonding with your kids and at the same time, you are creating lifelong memories to cherish. While you are crafting together you get to talk about what you are making and discuss different ideas and subject matters. You can talk about what you think, feel and care about. And as an even added bonus, your child isn’t using technology or looking at a screen!
Kelly just loves doing a range of art and crafts with both me and her dad, from simple colouring and painting to making something 3D.
What you can do to promote child development at home
As you can see, there are many reasons for your child to do art and crafts that will improve child development. and learn creative thinking. But I also think it’s a great way for parents in Hong Kong to spend quality time with your kids and keep them off those screens!
If you are looking for fun arts and craft ideas, check out the DIY activities on our blog. Or if you are interested in a convenient way to try a range of different art and craft activities at home with your kids in Hong Kong, why not subscribe to ActivityBox!
Each month you’ll receive a Box with 4 art and craft activities to do together with your kids at home. Step by step instructions and all the materials you need are included, so it’s easy to get started this weekend. And if you’re interested, learn more about our approach to creative thinking.
Until next time,