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Benefits of Creative Activities for Children

by Erica Loop

Whether your child is a pint-sized Picasso, a budding Bach or is nuts about the Nutcracker ballet, creative activities for children have benefits galore. According to the advocacy organization Americans or the Arts, creative arts activities can help children develop in a litany of ways by building critical thinking skills, strengthening problem-solving abilities, stimulating imagination and more.

Language and Communication Development

The educators of the Speech and Language Department at Michigan's Waterford School District note the benefits that creative activities can have on the growing child's language development. The opportunities for children to get hands-on with art and other creative projects allows them to engage with and communicate about what they are doing. When parents or teachers give children the chance to talk about the new creations they are making, or the discoveries they are finding, they will find ample opportunities to build language and communication skills. For example, while your child is painting a landscape, you can ask him why he is choosing specific colors. He must then think about and communicate his intentions and choices that he is creatively making.

Social Development

Creative activities don't only benefit children in an artistic way. According to the child development experts at PBS, creative play scenarios such as dramatic or pretend play can help kids understand social and societal roles. This includes taking other people's opinions into account, taking perspectives and even developing conflict-resolution skills. Additionally, young children can use creative drama activities to explore and experiment with community or familial roles such as acting like a fire fighter or finding out what mom's day is like.

Emotional Development

Creative activities provide children with abundant opportunities to develop and refine emotional skills. The child care professionals at the Penn State Cooperative Extension note that the creative arts allows children to express their emotions in ways that they may not have the ability to through other means. Children can use processes such as painting or drawing to understand and express strong feelings or to represent powerful situations. For example, a child may have trouble talking about a stressful experience such as her parent's impending divorce. Creative activities, such as the visual arts, will allow her to express her emotions in a safe and comfortable way.

Cognitive Benefits

The creative process can help children of all ages build cognitive skills that include problem-solving, imagination and critical thinking. According to the Penn State Cooperative Extension website, experimentation during creative activities allows children to explore different options and develop new solutions. For example, your child may want to paint her picture pink, but if she only has red, green, blue and white temperas, she can experiment with color mixing until she discovers that red and white blend together to make pink.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

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