The Psychology of Child Development
Creativity impacts many aspects of a child’s learning journey. From developing problem-solving and motor skills to encouraging curiosity and imagination, creativity is a key ingredient of child development.
How Creativity Impacts Child Development
Creativity pays positive dividends in numerous ways. It supports mental growth through challenges involving elements like equality, balance, spatial relationships, and problem-solving. It also supports the development of key skills such as sensory perception, verbal skills, and hand-eye coordination. Additionally, it supports divergent thinking via activities involving reflection, wonder, and curiosity. Creativity also provides children with opportunities for experimentation, imagination, and freedom of expression. Finally, creativity shapes social skills through activities that involve different perspectives and values and understanding the needs of others.
Specific Ways Creativity Sparks Growth in Children
Creative activities aren’t just fun. They can help kids grow in their fundamental skill set. For example, using a paintbrush helps them improve fine motor skills. Experimenting with new and different materials can provide kids with an introduction to science, while counting pieces can help kids learn math basics. Ultimately, children that feel good about creating boosts their self-confidence.
Benefits of Creativity
Many studies have demonstrated creativity’s positive impact – from childhood to adulthood – on skills and emotional intelligence. Art and creative expression can help children recover from trauma.
Studies Showing the Value of Creativity
Various studies focusing on creativity have yielded numerous examples of rich benefits. For instance, studies show that creative activities like drawing reduces stress levels. Creativity has also been shown to correlate positively to emotional intelligence among adults. For kids, creativity and pretend play provide them with an opportunity to practice original thinking, particularly when they’re allowed to engage in self-directed exploration. Additionally, studies indicate that creativity is a cause and an effect of happiness. Finally, creativity has been shown to be a sign that an individual is open to exploring their personal identity.
Overcoming Trauma with Creativity
According to an Education Week article, a psychiatrist found: “Areas of the brain can be reshaped and reorganized through activities that include touch and movement – the foundation of creative expression. Just as trauma is experienced – through nonverbal sensation – it can be released.” Creativity helps traumatized children build connections between the past, present, and future. It can also help them access memories they may struggle to verbally express or visually identify.
There are some organizations designed to help connect traumatized children to the creative process. The nonprofit organization Art with a Heart is, according to CEO Heidi Durham, on a mission to “help children overcome trauma through creative expression.” The organization’s trained counselors use art therapy, narrative, cognitive behavioral therapy, and principles of social-emotional learning to carry out this mission. The activities are designed to help children with self-awareness, empathy, and cooperative behavior. Ultimately, the completed art projects provide a visual record of healing that encourages children to recognize their progress and keep growing.
Tips and Activities for Sparking Creativity in Children
Parents, educators, and counselors can all take steps to encourage children’s creativity. Some of these steps include encouraging kids to experiment, embracing a child’s art without making suggestions for changes, emphasizing the process of creativity, and giving the children the independence and control they need to create. Also, the classic practice of displaying a child’s artwork and stories is a crucial part to keeping creativity going.
7 Ideas for Engaging Art Activities
One of the more organic art activities you can do with kids is to make natural arrangements out of outdoor objects like pinecones, sticks, and leaves. You can also create sun catchers out of natural materials like flowers or leaves to hang near a window. On the other end of the spectrum, you can add food coloring to shaving cream sprayed on a cookie sheet and blend colors into designs. You can also dip everyday objects like sponges or bottle caps into washable paint to make unique prints. Another activity you can do is to take turns building on a shared drawing for an interactive back-and-forth drawing game. You can also take slightly wet packing peanuts and use them to build towers and other wild shapes. Finally, you can create flowers using coffee filters and watercolors.
Studies have demonstrated the power of drawing or multimedia art project to develop the many skills and competencies that are critical for children to grow and thrive. Both the classroom and home environments are playgrounds for imagination and creativity. As teachers and counselors introduce projects and curricula that shape and develop creativity in children, parents can also support their children’s discoveries and celebrate their creative endeavors. Encouraging creativity in all forms and nourishing innovative, young minds can have a direct impact n multiple aspects of a child’s psychological development.