Why Creating Art With Your Children Is Important

Why Creating Art With Your Children Is Important
Alexander Gorban/Shutterstock

Many of us may be looking to art activities to keep children busy while at home. If you are, I want you to know that you are doing something positive for your children. From improving communication and motor skills to helping them develop a sense of self, there are many reasons why art making is valuable to children. That’s why it’s important to encourage such creativity from infancy and to include art alongside home learning and as an extension of their play.

When young children make art together with their caregivers, they share a new experience which can reinforce bonding. Creativity is an extension of babies’ natural desire to share and communicate. My research, in collaboration with Dundee Contemporary Arts, found that in art therapy the art making process encouraged behaviours that build strong relationships, such as eye contact, pleasant touch, shared goals, responsiveness. You may notice during art making that there is lots of joint attention – where you both look at the same thing together. This helps babies learn social skills, such as language and perspective taking, and feel connected to others.

There are further developmental benefits from experiencing new sensations and practising motor skills. Young children also see how they can make choices and communicate these to the grown ups around them. Even something as simple as choosing a colour or making a mark lets them see the physical outcome of their choices. This builds their feeling of agency and their sense of self.

Art making for children

These benefits continue through childhood. Art helps children to think in new ways, and to explore ideas – as the art and education academic, John Matthews tells us, scribbles are a process of investigation, not just random marks.

When you make art together with your children you add additional relational benefits, as they share feelings and ideas. Art is communication without the need to be verbal, which may allow them to express themselves more honestly than through speech.

I advocate joining in the art making together with your child wherever possible. So, where to begin? The best creative activities are those which invite children to play and explore without set outcomes. Your role is to create the right conditions for them to engage and then to follow their lead. You may be surprised by their ideas. An invitation can be as simple as offering an interesting material and suggesting that they see what it feels like.

If you have small babies you can start with just a couple of blobs of paint on a large sheet of paper on the floor for them to explore on their tummy. Try home-made edible paints. Keep it short and have a nice bath ready!

Here are more ideas for creative invitations for all ages that use simple materials.


Printing transfers an image from one surface to another. Younger children can spread paint across the back of a baking tray, mixing to their fancy, then press a sheet of paper on top, making a print. Try the back of cupcake tins to get nice circular images.

Offer older children tools like cotton buds or a blunt pencil to draw into the paint on the baking tray, then print to transfer the design. Or they could add paper shapes or leaves on top of the paint before printing, like a stencil.

Use interesting objects from around the house to create stamps.Use interesting objects from around the house to create stamps. Dundee Creative Arts, Author provided


Stamping uses an object to transfer paint to paper. Dundee Contemporary Arts have a nice video for children to create their own stamps from scrap card or sponges. For smaller children why not try using things from around the house as stamps? Anything which can be dipped in paint will work – potato mashers, cardboard tubes, spatulas, toy animals or cars.

Light and shadows

If you want some non-messy creativity try drawing with shadows. Spread a sheet between chairs, shine a light and let children experiment with their hands or holding up objects to see the shadow they cast. Older children may like to cut out figures or animals, tape them to cutlery or a pencil and use them to create an animation.

Remember, it’s not about producing perfection but allowing children to enjoy the process and sharing that with them. And, importantly, having fun.The Conversation

About the Author

Vicky Armstrong, Postgraduate researcher in Psychology and Art Therapist, University of Dundee

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

You May Also Like




a woman under a full moon holding a full hourglass
How To Live In Perfect Harmony
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
The word harmony has various meanings. It is used in music, in relationships, referring to inner…
full moon over bare trees
Horoscope: Week of January 17 - 23, 2022
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
01 15 cast normal to the gutter
Cast Normal to the Gutter: North Node in Taurus
by Sarah Varcas
The Taurus North Node affirms it is time to lay the physical foundations of the new world as the…
woman looking out a door through a "curtain" or icicles
Everybody Hurts Sometimes
by Joyce Vissell
Do you ever find yourself looking at certain people and thinking to yourself, "Surely that person's…
Crazy auroras including red. Taken by Rayann Elzein on January 8, 2022 @ Utsjoki, Finnish Lapland
Horoscope: Week of January 10 - 16, 2022
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…
the face of an old man in profile with the face of a baby looking at him
Call to Action! We Must Make A Difference
by Pierre Pradervand
“Spiritual activism is a practice that brings together the otherworldly and inward-focused work of…
woman standing over an abyss
Light Calling From The Abyss
by Laura Aversano
My prayer is that we all create a space for the darkness to birth a new way of seeing, sensing,…
dandelion in seed stage in various colors
Renewal and Transformation: This Is Who You Are!
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
We are constantly in the process of renewing ourselves and transforming. Physically, we are…
The Meaning of Life: Evolving Into Love
The Meaning of Life: Evolving Into Love
by Dena Merriam
We each enter life with desires, goals, and challenges to overcome, and we choose birth conditions…
Meeting the Shadow: Healing and Harmony for All
Meeting the Shadow with Sedna: Healing and Harmony for All
by Jennifer T. Gehl
Jung reminded us that what is good is not always beautiful, and what is beautiful is not always…
young girl sitting on the beach with s bright light and books
The Sweetness of Life: Dream Intently and Lighten the Darkness
by Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com
I think that "sweet and sour" is an apt description for life... some sweetness mixed in with some…

Selected for InnerSelf Magazine


How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
How Living On The Coast Is Linked To Poor Health
by Jackie Cassell, Professor of Primary Care Epidemiology, Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
The precarious economies of many traditional seaside towns have declined still further since the…
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
The Most Common Issues for Earth Angels: Love, Fear, and Trust
by Sonja Grace
As you experience being an earth angel, you will discover that the path of service is riddled with…
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
How Can I Know What's Best For Me?
by Barbara Berger
One of the biggest things I've discovered working with clients everyday is how extremely difficult…
5 Steps To Using Your Dreams To Find Answers
5 Steps To Using Your Dreams To Find Answers
by Nora Caron
I have always depended on dreams to provide me with clear answers about my direction in life,…
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
Honesty: The Only Hope for New Relationships
by Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
According to most of the singles I have met in my travels, the typical dating situation is fraught…
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
An Astrologer introduces the Nine Dangers of Astrology
by Tracy Marks
Astrology is a powerful art, capable of enhancing our lives by enabling us to understand our own…
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
Giving Up All Hope Could Be Beneficial For You
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
If you're waiting for a change and frustrated it's not happening, maybe it would be beneficial to…
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
Chakra Healing Therapy: Dancing toward the Inner Champion
by Glen Park
Flamenco dancing is a delight to watch. A good flamenco dancer exudes an exuberant self-confidence…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.