Research shows that creating art has a number of health benefits for children and adults. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you are very good. Nobody has to see it. Creating art – even just for ourselves – can have a positive impact on brain function. It can contribute to the function of our senses, attention span, and motor skills. This means it can also help to alleviate symptoms of dementia. It can also improve mood and reduce stress. These are all in addition to the more obvious benefits such as improving creativity and helping us to express ourselves.
Benefits for Children:
Thinking creatively makes connections between different parts of the brain. This can make art a key skill for development in children. Art also involves other elements that will help a child as they learn. For example, understanding shapes can be preparation for seeing shapes in mathematics.
Art also allows children to express themselves. They can show how they are feeling and what is important to them, even if they can’t explain it in words. It also unlocks problem solving skills as children adapt when things aren’t straightforward. This is also a safe space to make mistakes – allowing children to build confidence by trying again.
Suggestions for activities
- Allowing children to create art outside has the added benefit of helping them to experience and learn more about nature. Suggest some outdoor techniques. For Example, using natural materials for a collage, or making rubbings of interesting plants or trees.
- Learning together with a child, for example by visiting an art gallery. This helps to build self-esteem for the child because they know that it is fun for you too and you are taking them seriously.
- Recycling rubbish or other unwanted items to make 3D art. This is affordable and helps children find ways to recycle unwanted objects into something new.
Benefits for Adults
Creating art can have more benefit for adult brains than simply appreciating art. Research shows that creating prevents mild dementia more than reading. It can also help people with such a condition to express feelings of frustration or sadness.
The emotional and mental health benefits are available to everyone. Creating can reduce feelings of stress or depression. Art can be a good non-medical way of preventing or improving mental health problems.
Engaging with a group that creates or appreciates art can promote confidence, as well as being a sociable activity. This can help increase feelings of community for people who are unable to connect with others as often.
Art has benefits for all age groups. It can help children’s brains to develop as they learn and grow. Research has also shown that it can help to manage symptoms of dementia. Finally, the joy we get from creating art can improve our mental health.