Benefits of Encouraging Art in Toddlers and Preschoolers
Updated: May 12
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Art is not just for aesthetics it can also teach basic human skills that some can not learn otherwise.
Have you ever watched a child while they were creating art? When they prepare their art supplies and how they choose the colors? Sometimes they make it a whole process. When they start to put color on paper, they seem like they are in a different world. Like they don't even know you are around watching and observing them.
Encouraging your toddler to be creative and play with art supplies has its benefits on multiple levels. Creating art expands a child’s ability to interact with the world around them and provides a new set of skills which they'll need later on in life. Art also helps to develop the right side of their brain and on the other hand, it can represent the only form of communication for some children.
Through art children develop communicational skills, problem-solving skills, social and emotional skills, fine motor skills, enhance self-expression and creativity skills, they learn the probability of cause and effect, and much more.
When your toddler is being creative or doing art, the focal point should never be the finished product but the process of creation. How they create, what are they thinking when they are creating, and why are they creating a certain line or dot or scribble. Yes, some kids exhibit artistic talent at a young age too, and we should nurture it but for the majority of children, it represents a form of self-expression and stress relief.
Children can also experience stress and anxiety but are the least equipped for dealing with it. This can sometimes present itself in a form of tantrums, where they express their frustrations vocally and vividly. They can become harmful towards themselves or people around them and as adults, they can continue to express their feelings and frustrations in the same manner, which is counterproductive. But some children turn internally, they run and hide from the world or from the thing that is making them stressed. And as a result, they grow up with low self-esteem and self-value. And don’t know how to vocalize their feelings to people around them. This is why encouraging expression through art at a young age is very important. It allows children to learn self-regulate their emotions and express those emotions.
What are good art supplies for kids and where can your start?
The beginning of introducing art and art supplies to children should be from age 2 and up, or more so when you start to see signs of first tantrums occurring or child’s expressed curiosity toward art supplies.
Make the introduction something pleasant, like a game, or a show and tell. Which encourages children to participate more willingly. For the louder ones make it a special task they need to perform, and it is highly important. This means they need to concentrate on the task and calm down and not continue with the outbursts. For the quiet ones make it a safe space, where they are free to express themselves without judgment. A space where they can be with their thoughts, and they decide when they come to you.
Here are some art supplies you can introduce to your toddler:
Coloring pencils: they are basic and simple, there are multiple colors in sets, and can be quite inexpensive. Here are some colored pencils that are suitable for kids.
Sketchbooks: inexpensive paper that can withhold rough coloring.
Coloring books and activity books: excellent for color coordinating, keeping the mind busy, kids are enjoying coloring time and learning at the same time.
Markers: watercolor-based markers that are washable on any surface.
Watercolors: surpassing the dry media, you can move on to wet media, and see the enjoyment in kids’ eyes when they get to splash with color on paper, mixing different colors together. Here are some inexpensive watercolors you can give to your toddler.
Wallpaper of some sort: if your child exhibits the urge to draw on the walls, dedicate one wall in the room that is designated for this purpose. You can either paint it with washable paint or put washable wallpaper over it.
Art is also a great connecting activity you can perform with your child. It allows you to bond with your child and it also puts you in a position where you can express your inner child as well and destress from the daily stress.