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Creative expression raises intelligent children

by Laurel Pretorius
Creative expression raises intelligent children
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As parents, it’s vitally important that we nurture the artistic expression within our children if we want them to grow into emotionally intelligent adults. By Laurel Pretorius

Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun” and I must agree. We are all born with an innate sense of wonder and creativity that holds the power to shape our world and future. So, imagine the fun our children must have when we encourage their creativity to shine.

Sadly though, we living in a time where artistic expression doesn’t quite make the cut in the popular STEM acronym, a commonly used abbreviation that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, by which we measure the success of our children’s schooling career. Rarely do we hear people in education using the other acronym, STEAM, which includes Art as an important subject for children to focus on.

“Most of our children’s education is left-brain orientated and creating space for them to be engaged in right-brain activities, like dance and artmaking, is integrating and resourceful in a busy, and often stressful schooling system,” says Kate Ballenden, who is a process arts facilitator and Creativity Coach at Art Circles 108.

So, when parents encourage and nurture the artists within their children something profound and wonderful takes place. “I believe ‘all human beings can make art” is rooted in their creativity, not as an ‘artist’ in the classic sense of the word, but as a way of seeing and engaging with life and the world around us, and valuing the creative process, before an outcome,” says Bellenden, who also believes that “encouraging a child, a young person, to value and to nurture their own creativity is therefore vital to their development and well-being.” So, it is about the journey and not the final outcome.

“Encouraging a child, a young person, to value and to nurture their own creativity is therefore vital to their development and well-being.”

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The power of artistic expression

Artistic expression is more than just drawing, sculpting, painting, or crafting. It’s a form of communication that transcends words, allowing children to express their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions in unique and powerful ways. “Art making, without pressure on an outcome, is valuable in helping children focus and be present in the moment, to their feelings and their internal world,” Ballenden says.

There are indeed some remarkable benefits when you encourage your child’s artistic endeavours, and they include:

Enhancing the imagination

Nurturing artistic expression stimulates a child’s imagination, enabling them to think outside the box, solve problems creatively, and envision novel solutions to challenges.

Boosting confidence

Successfully creating a piece of art instils a sense of accomplishment and pride in children, while positive feedback and recognition from others further bolsters their self-esteem.

Improving motor skills

Engaging in artistic activities involves fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, which aid in developing essential physical skills.

Offers an emotional outlet

Art and creativity provide a safe and wonderful space for children to process and express their emotions, which ultimately helps them cope with stress, anxiety, and even sadness.

Stimulating cognitive development

Creating art engages various cognitive processes, such as decision-making, critical thinking, and problem-solving, which all contribute to overall intellectual growth.

Creating cultural awareness

Through art and creative expression, children can explore and understand different cultures, traditions, and perspectives, cultivating open-mindedness and empathy.

Nurturing your child’s creativity isn’t just about cultivating a talent, it’s about fostering a holistic development that extends into all aspects of their lives.”

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Nurture the artist within

It makes no difference whether you are an artistically-inclined parent or not, creativity exists in all of us. But, to reassure you, here are 6 lovely ways you can ensure that your child keeps on nurturing the little artist within:

  1. Create a supportive environment

Establish an artsy space where your child feels comfortable and has fun experimenting with different art forms—let it be somewhere you don’t mind them getting messy. Provide a variety of art supplies to spark their creativity.

  1. Encourage exploration

Give your child the opportunity to explore different creative activities, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, digital art, dancing and performing. This helps them discover their preferences and strengths.

  1. Celebrate all of it

Focus on the process all the way through to the end result. Praise your child’s effort, experimentation, and willingness to try new things regardless of the outcome.

  1. Collaborate & have fun

Join your child in creative activities. Collaborative art sessions can be an excellent bonding experience and provide an opportunity for mutual learning.

  1. Expose them to the arts

Visit museums, art galleries, theatre performances, and cultural events to expose your child to the diverse art forms. Discuss the artworks and creative events together and encourage them to share their thoughts.

  1. Empower choice

Give your child the opportunity to choose the subjects they want to explore through art. This empowers them to express their individual interests and preferences. It also reassures them that you will always support them in their love of the arts.

Lifelong impact

Nurturing your child’s creativity isn’t just about cultivating a talent, it’s about fostering a holistic development that extends into all aspects of their lives. “A well-rounded human being who is more in touch with their intuition, their sensory nature and their imagination, is absolutely vital to the wellbeing of humanity,” explains Ballenden.

As parents, we have the remarkable opportunity to provide an environment where our children’s artistic spirits can flourish. In doing so we get to nurture their cognitive, emotional, and social growth, while preparing them to experience the world with a rich perspective, a deep understanding of their own potential and the magic of imagination.

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