Young children love arts and crafts. What’s more fun than playing with bright colors of paint and sticking things together with glue and paper to create something new? While we know arts and crafts are great for creativity and fun, did you also know that they can help develop a child’s basic communication skills?
We’ll discuss the role that art plays in language development and the most effective activities for building language skills in young children.
Arts and Crafts: Opening Up a Child’s Ability to Communicate
Arts and crafts have long been used in art therapy to help children communicate their feelings about things that they may not have words for or be able to verbalize. Many children find creating shapes and images with paint or drawing with markers and crayons much easier than speaking. Sometimes, creating an image or exploring with color allows children to experiment with what that image or color communicates.
Often the act of creating a work of art is communication through arts and crafts. Experimenting with finger paint on their hands or stacking boxes can also be a way to synthesize ideas or concepts they are learning. They can learn about the parts of a flower by creating their own flower, or identify healthy food by creating a collage of food pictures.
How Children Express Themselves Using Art
Creating a craft or painting a picture is a way for children to express themselves. Art can be a way for children to process complex ideas and feelings. Fears or anxieties can sometimes be expressed through visual means when little ones don’t have words to say what is worrying them. Even choosing a color to create with can give a child a sense of confidence and a feeling of control over their environment.
Parents can take the opportunity to ask questions about their child’s artwork. Ask them about why they chose a specific color, what inspired them or how they figured out how to connect different objects. Talking about their creation encourages them to connect the colors and objects to thoughts and feelings they can communicate.
Best Arts and Crafts Activities to Encourage Language Development
Any art activity helps children to develop language skills. Craft activities, performing arts like dance, drama, or music also help children connect to the world, have fun and find new ways to think and express themselves. Here are some art activities that you can do to help encourage communication skills for kids.
1. Nature Art
Go for a walk in nature and ask your child to collect things they see around them. Give them a bag to carry their collection. They could gather pine cones, sticks, leaves, rocks, or anything safe that they come across. When you get back inside, spread your collection on a table and discuss what you found. Give your child some paint and ask them to paint their objects, or use them to create a stamp on some paper. What they make is up to them. Talk about the best ways to use the objects to achieve the look or craft they want.
2. Cardboard Box Creations
Give your child some tape, scissors (they may need help if they are very young), paper, paint, and cardboard boxes of different sizes. Cereal and other food boxes work great for this activity. Together, create a cardboard box creation – it could be an animal, a house, a rocket ship, or even a secret fort. Follow your child’s lead and ask them to give you instructions on how to build it. If you run into problems, try to problem-solve together and work out a solution.
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