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Children learn a lot by interacting with others and with the world around them. By experimenting, expressing themselves and learning from each other, kids can grow cognitively, emotionally, socially and physically. These are some of the many ways in which art can aid in child development.

Cognitive Advances
Participating in artistic activities can help children grow cognitively. For example, by drawing or painting shapes and objects, kids can learn the names of colors and things around them. Working with clay or papier-mâché can teach children about the properties of various materials, how they respond to the addition of water or heat, and how to use specific techniques to manipulate materials and create the forms they want. Learning to read music can help kids understand mathematical concepts they will encounter in school. Learning how musical instruments produce sounds can help children understand other concepts in physics.

Emotional Benefits
Art can serve as an outlet for children to express themselves, boost their confidence and develop emotionally. They can express their hopes and dreams, confront their fears, or convey thoughts or emotions that they may not be able to describe in words. Kids can learn about the feelings of others by observing the work of their classmates. Children who participate in artistic pursuits are often calmer and better able to manage stress than those who do not.

Social Learning
Art can help children develop socially. Participating in an art class with other kids teaches skills such as sharing. Seeing the work of others can inspire children to try new techniques. Giving and receiving feedback can help children learn to express themselves honestly and politely and to appreciate the perspectives and talents of others.

Art encourages children to use their imaginations. If they can picture something in their minds, they may be inspired to create it on paper or in the form of a sculpture or a piece of music reflecting that idea. Kids are eager to experiment and may approach questions or problems in unique ways that adults would not consider. Children who are open minded and willing to experiment often grow up to be adults who can think outside the box and seek innovative solutions to problems.

Motor Skills
Art can help with children’s physical development. Using crayons, markers and paintbrushes can help children develop the coordination they will need to use pencils to write when they enter school. Playing a musical instrument can help children improve their hand-eye coordination.

Lifelong Benefits
Children learn by doing and experimenting. Art is the perfect outlet to allow kids to explore and express themselves. When children are taught to think creatively, they can not only create beautiful works of art, but also develop the cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills that will prepare them for success later in life. If your child is not currently enrolled in an art or music class, look for programs at their school or in your local community.