If you’re planning to take some time off with the kids this school holidays and you’re wondering how to fill up their time, it might be as simple as throwing down some paper and coloured pens on the kitchen table and giving them some good old-fashioned art and craft time.
“In today’s fast-paced world, it’s so tempting to fill up school holidays and weekends with busy activities, but spending time drawing, colouring and painting can be incredibly fulfilling for children,” says Lisa Ford, clinical psychologist and founder of The Resilience Co., a child development consulting and education service.
Lisa says that children derive joy from creating, drawing and colouring and these activities also offer a range of developmental benefits.
“When children engage in art, it is very process driven, not outcome focussed as it often is with school work, so it’s about the discoveries and decisions they make along the way which can very rewarding and empowering,” she says.
Here, Lisa shares just some of the benefits of art and craft for children:
- Creativity - art encourages creative and imaginative thinking, skills that are increasingly important for vocational success. It can also enhance problem solving abilities, encouraging children to ‘think outside the square’. In art children are generating new ideas, making choices and changes, evaluating their creations and developing more flexible thinking.
- Relaxation and ‘down time’ – slowing down and having time out from the fast pace and full schedules of everyday life is so vital for our children. Spending time creating or colouring allows the mind to focus on just one quiet task without pressure or expectation. It can improve concentration and can help the mind become better at being in the present moment. For a generation that spend far too much time in front of screens, it is also really vital for our children to reconnect with these core forms of play and activity.
- Fine Motor Skills and Sensory Benefits – drawing, colouring and creating improve fine motor skills and also provide wonderful sensory input. Art employs the senses through curiosity, and this sensory input can really engage children’s imagination and stimulate learning.
- An Outlet for Emotions – art can provide a safe outlet for expressing emotions and processing experiences. Through art children can express themselves in a way that they might not be able to with words. They can feel more confident and comfortable expressing through different mediums such as drawing, cartoons, or using colour.
- Social Connection – art is a great equaliser. It helps children connect regardless of their other interests, backgrounds, skill or social confidence. Creating art together encourages co-operation and collaboration and can be powerful in helping children communicate and connect.
- Tools for the Job – when choosing art and craft supplies for your kids, Lisa recommends to choose age appropriate materials; “There are so many fantastic products available these days which can really bring kids’ enjoyment of artwork up to a whole new level.” She says to provide a wide selection including pens and markers for school age children, and also non-traditional items to stimulate creativity as well. For children of all ages, you can’t go past Frixion Colors for the fun factor as they’re erasable – kids love rubbing out any mistakes and starting again. It also builds confidence as it encourages them to try out new ideas without worrying about mistakes. “Interesting Items found in nature, or around the house can work together with traditional art tools to help children experiment and think resourcefully,” says Lisa.
- Creative Inspiration – Lisa says you don’t need to spend a fortune on colouring books, often inspiration can come from copying, tracing, getting others to draw them pictures to colour, making patterns with natural materials, or from just starting with a blank page.
- Free Stuff – Pilot Pen has a great range of colouring and design templates to download – head to www.pilotpen.com.au.