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Why Painting Is Good for Kids


| By Amy Vagne | March 30, 2020

Did you know painting is essential for children’s physical and mental development? Here’s why painting is good for kids and fun ways to enjoy it even more.

Whether they’re wielding paintbrushes or getting stuck in with their fingers, most kids love to paint. It might be a little on the messy side but it’s also creative and educational, and it’s an engaging activity kids can do at home. The positive benefits of painting for children are numerous. Like counting and learning to read, painting is good for kids and a vital part of their development, benefiting brains as well as bodies.

Painting Helps with Brain Development

When kids engage in creative activities like painting they’re stimulating their brains by using their memory as well as decision-making and problem solving skills.

It’s natural for parents to focus on developing traditional skills, like reading and counting, but we shouldn’t neglect creative pursuits like painting and drawing. Balance is the key. And don’t worry if the end product doesn’t look like the Mona Lisa just yet; the important thing is to just get young children painting.

Try These Painting Tools

Make it easy for young kids to experiment by ensuring they have size-appropriate painting tools. Try large and easy-to-grip brushes.

And why not try a few variations: this face spouncer set might be meant for face paint, but it also works well on canvases and paper. It’s easy for small fingers to grasp and will create different shapes and strokes, boosting their creativity.

Or simply hand them a few small silk sponges – so easy for small hands and fingers to hang onto, and they’ll love the new and unusual textures and patterns they can make.

SEE ALSO: 10 School Hacks Your Kids Will Actually Us

Painting Builds Fine Motor Skills

As kids manipulate a paintbrush, their fine motor skills improve. They’re building finger, wrist and hand strength, while improving their hand-eye coordination. Fine motor skills are developing rapidly in young children aged 0 to 6, and this is the prime time to encourage them with suitable painting activities. Even scribbling helps children develop fine motor skills.

Why painting is good for kids

Advanced fine motor skills are integral to a child’s wellbeing because so many tasks in their future, including writing, feeding themselves and tying shoelaces, rely on developing fine motor skills early on. You can actively encourage your child’s progress by compiling a kids’ paint kit with an assortment of painting tools.

Try These Painting Tools

Brushes are so often the norm when it comes to painting, but you’ll boost their creativity and experimentation, and help hone their dexterity and fine motor skills, if you provide tools with varying textures.

To give kids a sensory experience, try a set with a variety of brush sizes and sponges, or go for packs of rollers and paint wands. Paint stamps are perfect for kids who want to create defined shapes, and for kids who want to paint between the lines, paint pens are just the thing.

Arts & Crafts are a Shortcut to Communication & Self-Expression

Painting can be a wonderful outlet for expression, and finger painting is especially good for kids who haven’t yet developed their verbal skills. Through their painting style, subject matter and use of colour, children learn to share their emotions and communicate a message with those around them.

After painting activities, parents can ask open-ended questions to stimulate discussion, like “What have you painted and why?”. The results may be revealing. In some instances, a distressed child may benefit from painting as a tool to organise their feelings. A child experiencing anger can paint out their upsetting emotions and find a healthy way to self-soothe.

SEE ALSO: How to Help Kids Manage Stress

Children Learn to Experiment Through Painting

With activities like painting, kids can explore and make discoveries, behaving like mini scientists as they mix colours and play with tools. Being creative and playing with paint won’t just increase your child’s chances of becoming the next Monet; it’s also developing their abilities in numerous unexpected ways.

Through painting, they’re dabbling in STEM subjects as they count colours, create shapes and solve problems. Children who can experiment and make mistakes, without feeling like failures, are also free to invent and tackle bigger (and more important) tasks later on.

Painting is good for kids and encourages the development of fine motor skills

Try This Painting Activity

Paint BIG! For kids, a life-sized canvas will capture their attention – possibly for a whole afternoon. Set young children up outside and let their creativity run wild. You don’t even need an easel; just rest the canvases against sturdy garden plants and drop some newspaper underneath.

Paint with Your Child to Nurture Their Creativity

Artistic pursuits encourage creativity and imagination, qualities we all want to instil in our children. Being creative is not something that just comes naturally; it needs to be cultivated. Just like learning to ride a bike or write their own name, kids need regular painting practice to hone their creative skills.

Parents can support creative development by providing plenty of art supplies and allowing unstructured ‘free’ time for kids to play, paint and make. Playtime is actually essential for kids – it allows them time to practise and reflect on what they are learning.

Painting in early childhood encourages creativity

Painting Is a Stress-Busting Sensory Experience

Do we even have to say it? Painting is stress relieving and it’s fun! It’s a sensory experience and a great antidote to the modern world and the demanding situations children are often subjected to. The process of putting paint onto paper can be therapeutic, especially when little ones are experiencing a difficult time.

A US study found that just 45 minutes of making visual art lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and the results were most pronounced in young people. These days, art therapy is an established practice that’s growing in popularity; there are now several Master of Art Therapy courses in Australia

Try This Painting Kit Essential

Yep, painting is messy. And even with all the brushes in the world, your kids will probably get their fingers stuck into all the colours. That’s why non-toxic, washable paints should be your first choice. Oh, and don’t forget a smock.

There is no right or wrong way to paint. It’s totally subjective. Painting is good for kids, giving them agency to make their own choices, free from judgement and fear of failure. If they feel good while creating art, it can boost their self-confidence, lead to positive self-esteem, and improve their social skills.

Regular painting activities will also help kids improve their artistic skills, which is good news.. When children can see and measure their own progress, they feel happy and encouraged to pursue something. As parents, we can enhance all this positivity by praising our kids’ work. Hang their masterpieces on the fridge or share them with friends and family.