by Brandy Abalos

Meople have celebrated the arts throughout history. Many adults applaud painting, literature, music, performance and other arts. However, these are often the first programs to get cut when schools and communities must make budget cuts. By understanding how creative pursuits affect children’s development, communities may be encouraged to maintain those programs at all costs.

Why Are the Arts Important for Children?

Not only are the arts an outlet for creativity, but they also help children develop crucial skills. Children need the arts in every stage of development.

The Arts Encourage Creativity

Creativity is expressed through ideas and trying new things with diverse elements. The best way to develop creativity is to improve access to various materials and give children time to explore independently. Adults should avoid the hands-on approach and observe, providing supplies as necessary. Children should be allowed to determine when work is complete.

Children who consistently experience new art forms are more creative when given opportunities for expression. Adults should ask open-ended questions about artistic expression that help children consider their processes and possibilities.

The Arts Help Develop Cognitive Skills

As children use new tools and materials, they learn about the world. They discover the shape, color and size of objects. Children learn how to plan, experiment and problem-solve when they explore artistic pursuits. The arts also help children understand cause and effect. The decision-making skills they learn through making choices about artwork help children develop cognitively.

Art Allows Children to Express Themselves

Self-expression is essential for all children. It helps them become more confident and secure within themselves. It also allows them to learn about coping with stress and growing up. The arts introduce them to a variety of challenges that encourage them to express themselves while collaborating with others.

The Arts Develop Physical Skills

Using scissors, paintbrushes and yarn allows children to develop motor skills. Even learning to navigate on stage during a performance focuses on gross motor skills.

The Arts Develop a Sense of Community

Children develop individually and in groups when they engage in the arts. Children work together to achieve success and focus on the needs of others. They begin to understand how to interact with others while enjoying the process.

Children Understand Art is a Process, Not a Product

Many people are focused on the outcome of their actions. Focusing on the result limits learning and makes a person stagnant. The arts teach children to enjoy the process step by step, moment by moment.

The Arts Boost Child Development

No matter what type of art a child engages in, they benefit. Whether they are simply coloring a picture or participating in a play, children learn many skills through the arts. The arts help children develop personally and as a community of individuals