It’s hard to think of modern children having much of an appreciation for visual art. That’s not a knock on “kids these days,” but rather a neutral observation. Children are being conditioned to require greater stimulation, so that aside from pictures in storybooks, they likely don’t have much time for art. If anything, they’re more used to video content now that so many parents are in the habit of putting smartphone or tablet screens in front of them to keep them busy! (And hey, it works like a charm.)
Kids can and should still be exposed to visual art, however – not just because it gives them an understanding of expression and in some cases history, but because it can actually achieve some very specific purposes. Here are a few to keep in mind.
Handling Mood & Anxiety Issues
It’s fairly easy to understand how art can be somewhat therapeutic. There’s something quiet and relaxing about simply sitting down to draw, sketch, or paint. For that matter we’ve even seen a surge in the popularity of coloring books aimed at adults, said to be useful for stress relief. But you may not be aware that art courses actually exist specifically to help teens and young adults with mood and anxiety disorders. Naturally these are specifically structured, but that doesn’t mean the same concept can’t be applied to younger children. Teaching how to make or even simply appreciate art can give kids a soothing way to apply creative energy, which tends to be healthy in a lot of different ways.
Developing Motor Skills
Naturally, fine motor skills are needed to create art, and for that reason artistic expression is thought to be a good way to gauge progress and teach these skills. This much is essentially stated in a thorough and interesting outline of the importance of art in child development. The idea is that you can measure to some degree if a child’s motor skills are advancing as they ought to be from year to year, and in the process perhaps even teach some artistic ability that will stay with the child for his or her entire life.
Teaching Cultural Awareness
The same article cited above about the importance of art makes an interesting point: that teaching a child to recognize an artist’s choices can help the child to understand that the things they see in the world may be someone else’s interpretation of reality, rather than simply reality itself. In other words, an understanding of art can result in an understanding of perspective, which is good in general for fostering a heightened cultural awareness. This can serve someone well throughout life.
Prioritizing Visual Memories
This may sound like a small or even random idea. But think about how we treat photos these days: for the most part, we take them on mobile devices and store them on hard drives or in the cloud. The idea of printed, framed photos is almost falling by the wayside for those in younger generations. One way to combat this trend, however, if you like the idea of teaching your child to appreciate and prioritize visual memories, is to combine photos with a love for art. It’s now very easy to have acrylic prints and canvas art made up from one’s own images, which is a nice modern alternative to framed photographs. If your child appreciates art, he or she may one day like the option of blowing up a picture of friends or family members to serve as legitimate wall art.
Encouraging Travel & Experience
It’s also worth remembering that art is the foundation for some of the best cultural attractions in cities around the world. If you’d like for your child to have a worldly outlook and an appreciation of other places and cultures, a little bit of artistic education is a great way to do it. A young person interested in art might visit museums in a new city as willingly as he or she would attend concerts or check out popular bars. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with those other options, but a broader outlook is usually a good thing.