Arts and crafts have long been recognized as an important tool for helping children with their cognitive development. From playing with paint to sculpting with clay, every aspect of creating is imperative to balanced cognitive development. According to a report published by the National Institute for Early Education Research, “engaging in arts and crafts activities can help children develop a range of skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and fine motor skills.”
One of the key ways in which arts and crafts can help with cognitive development is through the process of imagination and creation. When children are given the opportunity to create something with their hands, they are forced to think critically about what they are doing and how to go about completing the task. This process of problem-solving and decision-making helps to strengthen their cognitive skills and can have a positive impact on their overall development.
Open-ended play that allows imagination and little to no restriction has been shown to be particularly beneficial for young children and can help to foster a lifelong love of creativity and self-expression, even if at a later stage in life expression is through more logical pathways. Visual arts and crafting can encourage development in bilateral coordination, visual processing skills, and executive functioning skills. Through creativity and expression, some concepts will not be as complex, confidence can increase and can foster great social skills when done with friends and family.
Fine motor skills are another important area where arts and crafts can be beneficial for children's cognitive development. Engaging in activities such as cutting, gluing, and drawing can help to develop the muscles in the hands and fingers, which is important for writing and other fine motor tasks that are to be developed at a later stage. It also creates muscle memory, as these tasks become the foundation for things such as typing, working carefully with delicate instruments and more. Arts and crafts has a world of possibilities to develop your child to achieve their full potential as a teen and an adult.
Overall, it is clear that engaging in arts and crafts can have a number of positive impacts on children's cognitive development. The research behind this topic is ever expanding and only provides more positive information as to how young children are able to grow and develop positively simply by entertaining their creative side. A great way to reinforce these small milestones is to talk to your child about their art. Ask about what it is, comment on the use of shape and line, describe what you see and interpret and ask questions about how they achieved what they have created - displaying a genuine interest in your child’s work allows for emotional control and connection which is integral to making sure that these positive skills remain in place.
National Institute for Early Education Research. (n.d.). The Role of the Arts in Early Childhood Education. Retrieved from https://www.nieer.org/resources/research-briefs/role-arts-early-childhood-education
Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. (n.d.). The Science of Play. Retrieved from https://www.developingchild.harvard.edu/science-of-play/
Encouraging Cognitive Development Through Crafts Retrieved from Daily Mom https://dailymom.com/nurture/encouraging-cognitive-development-through-crafts/
How Do Arts and Crafts Help Kids Reach Development Goals? Retrieved from Hello Wonderful https://www.hellowonderful.co/post/how-arts-and-crafts-help-kids/
Art – an opportunity to develop children’s skills by PennState Extention. extension.psu.edu/youth/betterkidcare