Arts and crafts are an essential part of early childhood development and education. Aside from fostering our children’s imaginations, artmaking also supports many physical, cognitive, and emotional skills.
Read on for these benefits! 🡪
Arts and crafts encourage fine motor skills.
When our toddlers use their small hands and fingers to hold crayons and paint brushes, they’re developing their ability to use both hands dexterously. They’re also working on their bilateral development, where they can use both sides of the body in different ways but together. These skills are essential building blocks for writing and other motor abilities. And when our little ones get in their craft time, they’re also improving their hand-eye coordination.
Using drawing tools can additionally help a child develop ‘eye tracking,’ where they follow a line or whatever shape with their eyes. You know what that skill leads to? The ability to read and later to do arithmetic!
For infants, arts and crafts will help them develop these motor skills even if they cannot physically make artwork yet. Just interacting with sensory art materials—finger paints, for instance, or large crayons—helps them develop fine motor skills.
Art helps our little ones understand cause and effect.
When young children attempt to draw or create something, they might have one vision in mind—and then end up creating something totally different (by adding a different color, for example). These unintended outcomes are opportunities for a child to learn cause-and-effect.
Art helps with visual-spatial skills.
It allows kids to understand where objects are in space. And from such visual-spatial skills, our children can draw letters and shapes, repeat dance moves, hit a baseball, or complete a maze.
It sharpens their problem-solving skills.
When our little ones make art, they’re engaging in a series of opportunities to make choices, to second-guess themselves, to reach conclusions, and to evaluate their results. By doing this often, kids become comfortable with this process and the uncertainty it entails. They are fashioning themselves into confident but flexible thinkers.
Art is a vital outlet to explore feelings and emotions from a very young age.
Art gives kids a critical sensory experience and in the process it allows children to process their world and to deal with sometimes pleasant, sometimes unpleasant emotions in a safe way.
Art uses our memory.
If a child is trying to replicate something they’ve seen before, they’re sharpening their memory.
It teaches our little ones self-control.
If they have a vision for something they want to create, they must exercise the self-control to try and achieve that result.
It helps with language development.
Babies might not be able to talk yet, but they certainly can communicate. Even at 6 months of age, they can look at pictures and/or objects being described to them, and they are already learning (and retaining) basic words. So, you can use artwork to help your infant learn words like “ball.” You can show them a drawing of a ball—or make a ball yourself.
And toddlers—well, they LOVE to describe their artwork. Let them: this helps them find the words and the expressions to explain their own ideas and processes to others.
Art supports confident children and provides a host of mental health benefits.
Creativity is known to activate reward centers in the brain. As such, it decreases stress, lowers anxiety, and boosts self-confidence. These aren’t just benefits for adults. Toddlers need them, too.
And creativity is a skillset in and of itself. It has the awesome side effect of promoting love of learning, non-judgement of oneself and others, and (of course) self-expression.
Some tips to encourage more arts and crafts at home:
- As the parent or provider, help your child focus on the process behind artwork, not the end product.
You can do this by asking your toddler process-oriented questions (‘Wow! I love all the green paint you used. Why did you pick that color?’) and if they had fun making the art.
- Don’t get too involved as the adult.
Let your child dictate their own creative decisions and encourage them to think however they want, including outside the box.
- Use open-ended questions/prompts to encourage your child to tell you about their artwork and to feel confident in their creation.
Some examples are: ‘Tell me about this painting!’ or ‘I love all the circles. What do you like about circles?’
- Display the artwork. It helps our little ones feel confident in their craftmaking and the decisions they made to reach the end.
- Lastly, offer your little one a variety of art materials: paint, markers, crayons, sponges, brushes, paper shapes—you name it. But remember: useonly safe, non-toxic art materials.
You might be asking, why would a baby food company care about arts and crafts? Well, because we’re in the business of healthy and happy babies and toddlers—and we care about supporting parents.
Our baby blends, designed for 5+ months, are made from whole, organic fruits, vegetables, and grains, sourced directly from growers. Our patent-pending pressure protected technology locks in the taste, texture, and nutrients of the fresh fruits and veggies by gently removing the water. Then we grind down the ingredients. The result? Simple food powders with no additives—just REAL ingredients like black beans, corn, kale, mango, strawberry, pumpkin, pear …. You know—REAL foods! And all you do, as the parent or provider, is add 4-5 tablespoons of breastmilk, formula, or water to the powder, stir, and serve to your baby!
And our toddler snacks: smoothie melts that are 100% organic and have no additives. They’re a great addition to any arts and crafts hour, staving off your little one’s hunger for more creative time.
How do you encourage arts and crafts in your home?