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Linda Hunter, Senior Director of Education for Pretend City, Helps Parents Take A Closer Look At The Significance Of Their Children’s Art  

Creating art is very important in child development as it’s often the simplest and most natural way for them to communicate what they are thinking. Through making art, children learn how to communicate visually. They can tell an invented story, relate real events and express emotions and feelings.  Children can often say more in pictures than they are able to articulate. In creating art they are able to represent a thought or feeling through an image, therefore making it more tangible.  With children, art is thinking made concrete.  It also gives parents something concrete to help ask the right questions. Art can truly be a magical thing chock-full of learning!  

 Art is also an important medium for learning. When creating art, children can learn to use critical thinking skills in the process such as by observing art made by others and gaining information through observation.  Additionally, creating art can give children a stronger sense of who they are and what they are capable of achieving in the world as they learn to be creative and expressive.  There is no right or wrong way to create art, as each child has their own individual expression.  For example, developmentally it would not be wise to give a two-year old a sample of an art project to replicate because you’ve already told them what it’s supposed to look like.  It’s about the process, not the product.  The learning happens in the process. Creating a piece of art can give children a feeling of accomplishment and pride. It can also give them a sense of optimism, ownership and personal control to create something they feel good about.  

When children make art, the lessons they learn go far beyond the art activity. Making art encourages the development of the types of skills that can reap positive effects in academic learning, social skills, communication skills and fine motor skills.   Making art requires the use of tools and materials.  When creating art, children can use a variety of media and gain practice and increased control in using fine motor skills as they learn to sculpt, draw and paint.  Research shows that students who study the arts do better in reading, writing and math, and that studying art helps children to develop critical thinking skills and encourages cultural awareness and understanding.   

This week in the Museum we are featuring one of our very own Pretend City Citizens artwork in our Gallery Walk for Universal Children’s Day. Be sure to visit this week to see some of our amazing four-year old’s masterpieces! 


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