Using Art to Help Children Develop

Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara received her MBA from Adams State University and is currently working on her DBA from California Southern University. She spent 11 years as a sales and marketing executive. She spent several years with Western Governor's University as a faculty member. Tara has been at for seven years.

As a teacher, you have a profound effect on how children learn and develop. Using art is an effective tool in helping children learn and improve their overall development. This lesson offers several suggestions of how to incorporate the arts into your classroom and the developmental benefits that can be achieved.

Benefits of Art for Children

Exposure to the arts has many advantages for children. It broadens their interests, gives them opportunities to explore abstract thought, and encourages them to create a different understanding of the world around them. Art also helps children in their development by allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings with the use of color, movement, music, and theatrical experiences to prompt discussions and express emotions.

Ways to Use Art with Children

There are many creative, effective ways to explore art in the classroom. Use the following suggestions in your classroom to encourage your students to explore their talents, learn more about themselves, and build fundamental development skills.

1. Finger Painting Allowing children to feel the texture of the paint, decorate a paper with various colors, and explore the creations they make, without pre-defined shapes or images to fill-in, allows children to develop several key skills. They learn fine motor coordination between their hands and eyes. They also learn to explore different movements and results, such as that circling their fingers creates round images and long strokes create lines and elongated images. By having access to several colors, children learn how colors interact and can create movement and emotions by mixing and combining colors.

2. Using Music to Spur Development Music can play a vital role in children's development. It helps them learn timing, notes, recognition of sounds, and understanding of harmony. Whether singing, listening to music, or learning to play an instrument, children can benefit greatly by being involved in music. As a teacher, you have opportunities to offer experiences in music, even if you are not a trained musician. There are many different types of instruments that children can learn easily and quickly, even at an early age. Some of the most common include drums, xylophones, recorders, and cymbals. Allowing students to create their own instruments is an added benefit of the overall art experience. Instruments, such as drums and cymbals, can be made from materials found in the classroom or at home. For beginners, the value is in the overall experience more than the quality of the instruments.

Singing with children is a vital aspect of increasing language development. Sharing common lullabies and melodies can help children learn new vocabulary, word flow, and general language skills. Singing is a simple activity that can be done through the school day to break up different tasks and enhance creativity for your students.

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