Children learn and develop in a wide range of ways. We are all different, but in general, children pick up information through their senses and then ‘make sense’ of it in their growing and developing brain.
There are a wide range of benefits for your child to be involved in creative activities. Educationalists say that the benefits include fine motor skills, neural development, problem-solving, concentration skills and an effective tool to help the development of key essential learning skills such as reading, writing and understanding their world. Child Psychologists say the benefits of creative activities can help children to express, process and understand their emotions. Parents tell us that their children develop self-esteem and that it is an activity that they can also share and be involved in. Toddlers and children tell us they love being creative because it's fun and they are allowed to do it in their own way. Business owners and leaders tell us creativity is the foundation for innovation and for our communities, economic and countries success. As you can see, there are many wider ranging benefits when you involve your child in creative activities.
By providing your child with opportunities to explore and discover, you give them opportunities to experience a greater range of sensory information which in turn helps their long-term development.
As well as the educational benefits, there are a wealth of social and well-being benefits that can help your child enjoy and cope with the changes that life brings.
We all have heard of the five traditionally recognized methods of sense or perception, these being taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound. A sixth sense called proprioception is the position and movement of our limbs, the senses of muscle force and effort, and our sense of balance.
There are considered to be twenty-one overall senses, but that is for another future article!
For now, we are going to explore the five key benefits to your child when they engage in creative play.
1. Creative activities help kids with managing emotions.
Expressing how you feel can be difficult for your child. They may experience new feelings and not know what these feelings are. By allowing your child to express how they feel, you will be helping them make sense and understand these feelings. This also helps to build children’s self-confidence in managing their feelings and knowing that you are OK when they are learning how to express different emotions.
Activities that can help include; describing different emotions and situations through role-playing, storytelling, dressing up, drawing, modelling and painting.
2. Creative activities help kids develop social skills.
Understanding that other people are different from us is a big learning stage for children. Creative activities help show children that others can do things differently to us even with the same resources. It also enables a way of showing that it’s ok to be different to others.
Sharing a creative activity is also a great way to help build friendships, and strengthen bonds between you and your child as well as with friends.
Activities including singing, dancing, acting, drawing, creating models, nature trails together are all great ways to help friendship and bonding.
3. Creatives activities help kids with their physical development
There are a wide range of skills involved when being creative. With dancing, drama and movement, there are many gross motor skills including balance and spatial awareness. With art and crafts, the activities help support fine gross motor skills and hand and eye co-ordination.
With an increasing amount of screen time, children are having fewer opportunities to develop their hand and finger strength. Hand and finger strength helps with many everyday activities. such as - dressing oneself, catching a ball, writing, brushing your teeth and many other essential days to day activities.
Spending time playing outdoors, running, walking and swimming helps to develop gross motor skills. Learning and practising how to use scissors and cutting, modelling clay, painting, colouring in can help to build and develop your children’s fine motor skills.
4. Creative activities help your child’s intellectual and cognitive development.
Creative activities help your child to develop many thinking skills. These skills include- problem-solving, developing their imagination, concentration and critical thinking. By exploring different materials and tools, discovering new concepts and techniques, children can develop their ideas and their understanding of the world.
Creative activities can also help to develop basic mathematics and science skills. Practising and developing these skills, during your child’s early years, will help them transfer these skills to other areas of their life which will benefit them as they grow older.
We all know that children love to ask ‘Why?’ Creative activities such as drama and arts and crafts will help children think for themselves more and work out answers for themselves.
5. Creative activities help your child’s wellbeing.
Our lives are busy, and children’s lives can be incredibly busy too. Going from one activity to another can make for frenetic days and children can be under increased pressure to try to be good at everything. Taking time out to be led by your child and to be playful and to have fun together, is good for both your child and you. You don’t even have to have an end goal in mind. By being in the moment, enjoying the time together and giving your child your attention, can provide a wonderful shared bonding experience. The other great thing about creative activities is that you can get involved with your child and both enjoy some special shared fun times together without any pressure of 'Am I, or are they doing it right?' Enjoy the process of taking an idea and developing it based on where your child’s amazing imagination takes the idea.
I hope this article has helped to explain that creative activities aren’t just about learning to be an artist but also help us to unlock the many wonders within your child and help them explore, discover and develop in their worlds.
For more information about easy creative activities to do with your child, click here for the early bird offer on my book 'Creative Sparks' which has over fifty-two ideas to do at home.
I hope you found this article helpful. If so please do feel free to comment and share,
Here's to inspiring futures
Mum to three and founder of The Creation Station Ltd.