Expanding Cognitive Ability Through Art

Growing YearsCreative art is a great way to expand your child’s cognitive ability through development of problem solving skills. What line to draw, colors to use, what should the tree look like, should I make animals, the list goes on and on. The brain is exercised. Ideas are created. Thoughts are linked to create more ideas. Who knows, your child may be inventing the next new wonder gadget. We know that inventors are excellent problem solvers, and your child is inventing an art creation. Neurons are firing, making creative art a means to greater cognitive growth.

Children need to be given no boundaries, (maybe one, no walls), and a large variety of materials. Do not worry about staying in the lines, this will come in due time (when fine motor skills are ready). You should not judge the art, but instead talk to your child about the beautiful art piece he/she has created. It is important to encourage your child to talk about the picture or object produced. Believe me, he/she knows exactly what it is, even if you do not have a clue. Resist telling your child that you do not know what is in the picture. Instead, say things like, “Oh how beautiful, can you tell me about it?” If you hear that it is a tree, and you just do not see it, simply say, “Wow, that’s a great tree.” Remember, your child’s imagination is at work, and cognitive growth is taking place.

I like to keep supplies in a plastic tub. Some things need to be bought, but others can be found, or may even be in the trash. Certainly, you will need crayons, children’s scissors, glue, finger paints, and paints with brushes – colored and white, as well as tissue paper and chalk. Add anything textural, like sponges, to use for painting. Also, collect q-tips, clothes pens, cotton balls, medicine droppers, straws, tape, hole punches, old buttons, thread, ribbon, and yarn. All packaging materials offer opportunities for creativity (problem solving), along with pasta of all kinds. Supplies are only limited by your imagination; remember, your junk is your child’s treasure. Art does not always have to be on a flat surface. It is interesting to give a child a paper cup, some cotton balls, toothpicks, and other items found around the house. Watch what the imagination creates (maybe a monster or a machine).

Yes, art is a great way to develop cognitive skills. Not perfect art, but creative art. Art that is his/hers. Art that your child owns. Make the activity even better, and sit with your child. Create an art piece of your own, with no help from your child – just you and your imagination.