Art and Young Children: The Significance of Art in Child Development

Author: Art Shed Team  Date Posted:10 March 2015 

Children – as if by an invisible magnet – are naturally drawn to art. Just take a look at the doodles on the walls of homes where young children live. Take a wander around the neighbourhood to see children dancing with or without music, singing songs they made themselves, and chanting to their own beat. Go to the park to see figures drawn on the sand or figures made out of sand. Notice that there is a perpetual shortage of paper and a surplus of broken crayons in preschools all around the world. Children instinctively love art.


A lot of studies have been done to support the claim that art enhances a child’s imagination, confidence, and creativity. So much has been written and is still being written on this subject. On the other hand, not a lot has been said about art’s contributions to a child’s critical thinking, cognitive skills, and learning. As a result, educational curriculum's across all levels around the world do not put any emphasis on the arts. As a matter of fact, when budget constraints arise, arts programs are usually the first ones to go with more emphasis put on academic development. Little do people know that art, when encouraged and cultivated in young children, has significant impact later on in their lives. 


According to the United States Secretary of Education in his report entitled, "The Value Added Benefits of the Arts," "Studies have shown that arts teaching and learning can increase student's cognitive and social development. The arts can be a critical link for students in developing the crucial thinking skills and motivations they need to achieve at higher levels"

Benefits of Art for Young Children

  • Children exposed to art have better motor skills and hand-eye coordination. By simply holding a paintbrush, pair of scissors, piece of crayon, coloured pencil, or clay, children get to hone their fine motor skills and develop better hand-eye coordination. The more children practice these skills in a safe and encouraging environment, the more they can improve.
  • Children become more creative. Art stimulates a child’s creativity and imagination. His or her choice of color, shape, and size influences him or her to be creative and think with an open mind.
  • Children learn to express themselves. Through their art, children are able to express their feelings and thoughts in a safe manner. In time, they are also able to control their emotions, helping them get a grip on negative as well as positive sensations.
  • Children learn the value of respect. They find out that there are many ways to complete a task, there could be more than one right answer, and there are many points of view. They learn that all these are correct and should be respected. They also learn that differences are okay and should be celebrated.
  • Artistic children have better critical-thinking skills and problem-solving skills. Through their art projects, children are given the chance to make sound choices as well as solve problems. Children start asking themselves how they could get the head to sit on the body of a clay figure, what colour works best for a picture, and many others.
  • Their perceptual abilities are developed. Children become aware of shapes, colours, textures, and forms.
  • Children who practice art can concentrate better. Art is enjoyable and kids who are exposed to art are able to focus on the task from start to end. The feeling of accomplishment when one is able to finish an art project is very empowering to children. This will later on translate to better focus in academics and other activities.
  • Children develop social skills. Children, while working on an art project, learn to collaborate with you, as well as other children, helping them overcome shyness, gain friends, and express themselves.
  • Art improves children’s confidence. Since your child learns that different individuals convey the same thing in different ways, your child develops pride in his or her work, thereby boosting his/her confidence.


Art Activities for Young Children

  • Supervised Freestyle Doodling – Very young children are inclined to draw at random. Children get to practice and improve fine muscle control as well as hand-eye coordination while holding the paintbrushes, crayons, and other art tools. This helps them later on when they are learning how to write. This activity also aids in self-control.
  • Spontaneous Border Drawing – In this activity, children are allowed to draw anything, organizing the composition and content, within the borders of either large or small sheets of paper. This helps them develop spatial relations.
  • Clay Sculpting – Children using clay to mold different figures do not only improve their fine motor skills, they also learn the concept of cause and effect. By being exposed to the changing state of the clay, children learn to infer, conclude, and deduce.
  • Do-it-yourself Wallpapering – Tape a large sheet of white butcher paper to the wall and let your child express themselves using sharpie markers or crayons. This does not only help in the development of their motor skills, this helps them realize the value of hard work and take pride in it.
  • Simon Says Draw! – This fun activity engages the whole family to join in. Play just like the traditional Simon Says game. You can give them instructions such as, “Simon says draw squares!” or “Simon says draw a face using a yellow crayon!” Not only is it great fun, it also helps your child develop quick thinking, tests his or her reaction time, and develop a aptitude for following instructions.


Children innately love art. Art is not only fun and exciting, it also provides each child with the power to express their thoughts and feelings without the fear of being judged. Art gives children the freedom to make their own choices and gives them the ability to control their environment. Art helps children develop skills that will greatly impact their lives later on such as problem solving, sociability, creative thinking, individual responsibility, and most of all self-esteem. Encourage your child to engage in art and see them develop into a well-rounded, smart, sociable, and creative individual.


Here at Art Shed we have many art supplies for young children including the new range of Micador Early Start. This range is designed for 1-4 year olds and is safe and easy for little hands to use. All the products are non toxic, have safety lids and some are even organic - like their vegetable based dough!

If you are looking for something for the older children we carry a huge array of kids art supplies and kits. Check them out here

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