Guest post contributed by Taylor Hodge, on behalf of Organicbabynook.com – an organic baby products site for earth-conscious parents. Parents can join the organic baby registries to ensure they get only organic baby products for their new baby.
Every baby is born an artist – born to learn through creation. Supporting your baby’s imaginative activities helps stimulate their brain, encourages discovery and self-expression, develops their motor skills, and much more. As a parent, make sure your child’s room is also a tiny artist workshop stocked with baby toys like the Aquadoodle and Play-doh. With the right tools and encouragement, your child is in a great position to love the process of art creation.
Why Art is Important for Your Baby’s Development
The benefits of art extend far beyond entertainment for young children. It can play an important role in the baby’s development, ranging from the mastery of physical tasks to emotional and social well-being.
Artistic tasks are great for the progression of a baby’s fine motor skills, which involve parts of the body like fingers, hands, and wrists. These skills allow babies to pick up objects — with the aim of their palm or just by pinching fingers — and engage in finger play; eventually, those abilities will help them fasten clothing and write.
Art also offers young children a fresh way to interact with, and contribute to, their world. For many babies, their first foray into art is a thrilling sensory experience. They get the chance to dabble in materials of varying textures and colors. If they’re working with edible supplies, which are a great option for very young children who tend to put everything in their mouth, there are different flavors involved, too.
They also get to experience the thrill of performing an action and seeing the result unfold. When they dab colors on a page, they see that the colors remain; when they drag a crayon across a sheet of paper, they get the excitement of seeing that they are creating a squiggle. In other words, they get to make tangible contributions to a fascinating world.
In the very early stages of childhood, there is a lot of discovery in art. Babies go through a process of experimenting with materials to see what happens. Later, when they are old enough to depict things, the basic discovery aspect is still there, but it also transcends into personal expression. Through art, children can express themselves, and in turn have an opportunity to better discover who they are.
In this way, artistic expression helps young children communicate who they are. When done with other people, taking part in art project can help young ones with everyday communication, too. The very young can start to receive basic commands, like a suggestion to pick up a crayon; older budding artists can take more complex instructions. You can also talk to them about their art – comments about how a picture makes you feel, or how you like the colors, can be a great way to bond with your child while developing communication skills.
Toys that Nurture Artistic Expression
Since artistic development has so many benefits, you should make sure your child has plenty of toys available that are designed to foster their talents. Some come from store shelves, while others can easily be prepared at home. Here are some great options:
This highly popular modeling toy has been a staple of children’s playtime for since the middle of the 20th century. It’s a non-toxic, malleable material that doesn’t stain, which means your child can safely create figures of people and objects.
You can make your own, too, often made with a combination of flour, water, salt, and vegetable oil. For the very young, there are options that taste great, although you should be mindful of any that could trigger an allergic reaction, like some containing peanut butter.
Traditional paints aren’t a good idea for babies, but there are paints designed to accommodate babies’ artistic flair. Non-toxic paint options are available for children to safely smear the colorful formulas on paper. They can also rub it on a bathtub if they’d like, with some specialty paint products available to help merge bath time with art. For added fun, try foam adhesives in fun shapes that stick to the bathtub.
If you’re reluctant to let your child play with paints, try household options. Pudding can be excellent for the initial stages of finger painting, as can vibrant gelatin within a sealed plastic bag. In both cases, your child will have something they can manipulate to create interesting patterns and color combinations.
Water Based Art Creation Toys
There are some products that use something as simple as water to help your child create vibrant, creative art. The Aquadoodle, for example, makes drawing images fun and easy. It requires no ink or paint, which means no mess. Instead, you fill the toy with water, which will then become visible when your child runs a special pen across the screen. Since these sketches disappear in a few minutes, your child can use it to draw over and over again.
When thinking of art, most people immediately think of paper as something to draw on. However, it can serve a different, engaging purpose for very young kids. Join them in ripping apart sheets of paper. Then, encourage your child to arrange and rearrange the ripped pieces, ideally in vibrant shades and varying sizes. It is like an introduction to creating a collage.
Last but not least, crayons are a must-have addition to any budding artist’s workshop. If your child is very young, but you think he or she is ready to start using them, be sure to monitor him or her closely for safety reasons. How children respond to crayons varies. Some will attempt to replicate your use of the crayons; others might pay little attention to what you’re going, and instead will go their own way. As long as they are interested in the using the crayons and not harming themselves or damaging property, let them have fun with them. It’s a great way to introduce drawing, as well as a useful stepping stone towards being able to write.
How You Can Encourage Creative Expression
Toys alone do not nurture the artist in your baby. You must also be involved in the process. Help get your child interested in art by establishing a regular routine where art supplies are available and you encourage their use. Do not try to restrict their use, though. With the exceptions of personal harm and property damage, you should let your child create art without limitations. Let him or her experiment with different materials, and be responsive to the supplies he or she seems to like best.
When your child is creating art, respond positively. You do not have to direct your positive attention to the final product. On the contrary, showing clear enjoyment during the process of creation can be especially beneficial for your child, and it is likely to make him or her keen on continuing artistic pursuits.
All children have immense artistic potential, the cultivation of which can also lead to developing crucial motor, emotional, and social skills. Help them tap into their creativity by offering them fun toys designed to bring out artistic skills, and then encourage acts of creation by showing genuine enjoyment whenever your child is in the middle of it.