What Children Learn Through Art Activities

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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. According a 2005 presentation by the U.S. Department of Education, 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.

1 Thinking and Learning

Making art encourages thinking skills.

Children who make art can learn to use critical thinking skills in the process in many ways such as by observing art made by others and gaining information through observation; by interpreting and coming to conclusions based on observation; by associating and making connections through art experiences; by problem-solving and choosing media and creating art for a specific purpose; and by flexible thinking and realizing that there is more than one way to make art, as evidenced by observation of his own and classmates' work.

2 Communication

Children learn to express themselves visually.

Through making art, children learn how to communicate visually. They can tell an invented story, relate real events and express emotions and feelings.

3 Fine Motor Skills

Making art means learning to use tools.

Making art requires the use of tools and materials. Children who make art in a variety of media gain practice and increased control in using fine motor skills as they learn to sculpt, draw and paint.

4 Social and Cultural Awareness

Art can teach children about other cultures.

Through art activities, children can observe the work of their classmates and others others around them, learn to participate in discussions about art and do art activities that teach about other cultures

Rose Guastella is a professional artist and teacher from Kitsap County, Wash. She has been writing educational materials for schools since before 1990. Guastella holds a Master of Arts in liberal studies from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She has contributed several articles about education and plant biology to various websites.