Did You Know: About The Physical Benefits of Art

Parents and educators alike know that if you want to keep a child, especially a young child busy, its best to give them an activity associated with arts and crafts.

But while keeping a child absorbed is also a benefit or a by-product of art and craft activities, the bigger benefits aren’t something that most people are aware of.

Let’s find out more about them.

Little kids usually seem to be mushing up objects they play with but they are actually using a gamut of actions and strengthening their muscles while they knead, pinch, mold,roll, squeeze and twist.  Read more about activities that aid in fine motor movements here.

Fine Motor Skills involve the development of the small muscles in the fingers and hand. Between the ages of three and five, children show rapid development of these muscles. For example, at four a child typically draws a person as a head and legs, can copy simple drawings such as a circle or cross, and can cut a straight line with scissors. By five, a child can draw a six part person, develop a tripod pencil grip, copy more complex drawings such as squares and triangles, and cut on a curved or jagged line.

If your child is showing weak fine motor skills, there are many things you can do at home to help their development. Let them practice holding and writing with golf or small pencils. Have them practice using crayons within the lines, drawing pictures, cutting out objects, completing dot to dot activities, matching pictures, using glue bottles and glue sticks in arts and crafts, tracing objects, finger painting or painting with a paintbrush.

Gross Motor Skills involve the movements of the large muscle groups in the body. The muscle groups are involved in jumping, running, hopping, skipping, catching, and eye-hand coordination. Children must develop gross motor skills before fine motor skills are mastered. Gross motor skills begin developing at birth and show rapid development until age 6 or 7. By age four, most children can stand on one foot for five seconds, jump with two feet, run with arm and leg coordination, and go up and down steps one at a time. By five, typically children can move up and down steps smoothly, balance on one foot for ten seconds, balance on tiptoes, walk backwards, attempt roller skates and jump roping, hear rhythm in music, and echo simple clapping patterns.

If you’ve noticed your child has weak Gross Motor Skills, problems with muscle tone, joints, foot bones or balance could be the problem. Exercises that increase your child’s flexibility, balance, and posture can help. Practice catching and throwing a ball with your child, walking and running together, balancing on one foot at a time, climbing on play structures, hopping, skipping, and playing structured ball games together will all help their gross motor development. Provide frequent breaks when your child gets tired and keep the activities fun!

Let’s find out how Art impacts the brain-

Professor Elliot Eisner of Stanford University said at the convention of the National Arts Education Association, “In the arts, imagination is the primary virtue.” Art encourages the brain to visualize and interpret things it cannot see, touch, feel, hear, or taste. This promotes creative, inventive thought as well as critical thinking skills.

What else do children gain from the arts?

  • Art offers children an important outlet for emotional expression and the assurance that their feelings are valuable.
  • Art contributes to cultural as well as individual identity, connecting children to their roots while allowing them to discover their own talents and interests.
  • Art provides a path to dialogue, a way to share and compare ideas.

From the young painter concentrating intently on her brushstrokes to the dancer learning to move with grace and agility, the arts promote growth in nearly all areas of development.
Most research confirms that young children learn best through experimentation, exploration, and multisensory activities. Art encourages all of these things, so there is no logical argument against placing a strong emphasis on arts in the preschool curriculum.

Excerpts taken from articles- http://www.cceionline.edu/newsletters/March_10.html#LETTER.BLOCK3

Gymboree Play & Music, the pioneer in Early Childhood Development has structured it’s Art classes along the same lines and the differences in the children is fantastic! While enjoying smearing of paint and sculpting objects out of modelling clay, their brains are growing by leaps and bounds and new concepts are getting formed.

Bring your child to Gymboree and watch them blossom into a well-rounded individual.

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