Creative play and artistic activity are important to children’s overall development. They help nurture imagination, and also develop problem-solving, thinking and motor skills.
School children start to learn that some problems have a single solution (two plus two always equals four). They also develop skills for finding the right result for a given problem. But there are still many areas where things are not so black and white.
Creative play helps with learning and development, by letting children engage in problem-solving where there are no set or ‘right’ answers. With creative activity, the process is more important than the product.
By school age, your child is ready to soak up lots of new information. In the months leading up to the start of school, you might notice your child ask more questions about how things work – and there’ll be lots of ‘Why?’ questions, of course!
School-age children are usually more confident about themselves and around others than they were a year or so earlier – this is a good thing when it comes to creative pursuits.
Most school-age children take a keen interest in art and artistic activities . You can encourage creative play and imaginative development by stimulating your child’s creative urges.
School-age children might use colours and shapes to communicate feelings, ideas and messages (for example using lots of black to draw a dark scene or scary feelings). They might also use symbols to differentiate between objects in their drawings.
It can be pretty easy to work out children’s interests when you’re watching what they create. They will enjoy creating pictures on the same theme (dinosaurs or boats, say) over and over again.
You might notice that drawings and paintings become more detailed than when your child was a preschooler. For example, your child might be drawing people with five fingers and toes. Where your child used to draw scribbles and squiggles for trees and flowers, you’ll be able to recognise leaves, branches, trunks and petals.
School children are ready for ‘art appreciation’ – whether it’s music, sculpting or pictures. You and your child can talk about art, artists, favourite artworks and reasons for liking certain things. Why not visit an art gallery together, and talk about what you see?