The National Association for Gifted Children published a 2017 article by Karen Morse called “Developing Creative Thinking Skills through Art“. In it, they outline all of the ways that art teaches creative thinking, including “[developing] analytical thinking, sharpen[ing] their visual-spatial acuity, and [helping children] become more receptive to out-of-the-box thinking.”

Creative thinking helps children to explore the world around them. It gives them the freedom to experiment and dream. Beyond that, creative thinking is how new discoveries are born. This is the basis of world changing advancements and inventions.

Why Should Children Experiment with Color?

Just learning about color and being exposed to vibrant ranges of colors changes how children learn and think. It develops critical thinking, observation skills, and broadens vocabulary. Morse asserts that “Before children learn to read and write, exposure to the arts enables them to express representative and abstract thinking.’ 

‘They learn to see things through a lens that is uniquely theirs. They learn that there is no right or wrong way to create. By examining and making a variety of artwork, including abstract art, children learn that people are individuals with unique expressions of ideas and emotions.” 

What are the Brain Building Benefits of Creating Art?

Young children are drawn to art. They naturally want to dance, sing, and draw. These activities are early expressions of art. They help to grow and develop the brain. Through movement, sound, and self expression, children’s brains build neural connections, and create pathways that impact future learning. The arts are the basis for all learning.

Children need art to learn how to express themselves and process the world around them. Through the arts–visual, music, drama, and dance–they develop an understanding of human experience. Children also learn about emotions, how to relate to others, and how to stretch themselves beyond the present moment. 

What about STEM?

In the 21st century, there is a huge push in education to embrace a deeper understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This is usually the reason for neglecting the arts, which are seen as less needed or profitable. However, STEM needs the arts in so many ways. In fact, children who learn and experience music have better numeracy skills. They naturally can find patterns, understand ratios, and comprehend advanced mathematical concepts. Music is a mathematical exercise. 

To prove the need for music, researchers have set up control studies. The following is an example. The research focused on proportional mathematics, which is usually a challenge for younger students.  

“One group of 2nd-grade students from a low socioeconomic Los Angeles neighborhood was given four months of piano keyboard training along with computer training on software designed to teach proportional mathematics. This group scored 166 percent higher on proportional mathematics and fractions subtests than the matched group that received neither music nor specific computer lessons, but did play with the computer software.”

The combination of art and STEM is the true path to advancement in the future. Nurturing young artists should be the goal of every educational endeavor.

How has creative learning changed how your child learns?

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