Fine Motor Skills
Art activities help children gain fine muscle control and strengthen eye-hand coordination. By holding paintbrushes and learning how to control paint, crayons, scissors, and other art tools, children gain the skills necessary for later writing activities.
Emotional and Social Development
Art activities promote emotional and social development.
- Children learn how to take turns with art supplies and following basic rules.
- Children make the classroom their space by decorating the room with their colorful creations.
- Children interact with others by sharing their artwork.
- Children explore new art materials.
- Children use a variety of materials and activities for sensory experiences, exploration, creative expression, and representation.
- Children will be able to see that others have different points of view and ways of expressing themselves than they do. Comparing children’s drawings, paintings, or models gives children concrete, dramatic examples of how different people express the same thing in different ways. While learning that their way is not the only way, they learn to value diversity.
Classroom Art Center
Make an art area in your classroom. This area should always contain crayons, paint, construction paper, markers and scissors. In order to keep children engaged, add new art materials weekly: feathers, glue, magazines, stamps, glitter, sequence, beads or clay. All art materials should always be accessible for children to explore. Fine motor skills are practiced in the art area. Cutting, drawing, and coloring are examples of some age appropriate activities. The art area enhances creative development, and self-expression.
Child Directed Art Activities
Children do not learn creativity by coloring in the lines. Let children color or paint freely on a blank piece of paper. It’s important to realize, creativity is all about the process not the product. DO NOT USE COLORING SHEETS.
- Finger-paints Mural: Make a classroom mural. Give children a huge piece of blank paper to share and encourage them paint freely. Also, add feathers, glitter, or other art materials.
- Play Dough: Let children play with play-dough! Provide numerous colors, cookie cutters, plastic silverware, play-dough mats, toy cars, etc.
- Cardboard Box: Children love to decorate! Bring a cardboard box to class, provide stickers, paint, markers, and let them go wild! Another great idea would be to make the decorated box into a pretend car or house.
- Sidewalk Paint: Have children paint a masterpiece on the sidewalk. How to make sidewalk paint: water, food coloring, and cornstarch.
- Color Wheel: Make a classroom color wheel. First, draw a cutout a big circle and provide children different colored materials to glue in each colored section.
Integrate Art Into the Curriculum
Another effective way to incorporate art is through other subjects, such as integrating art into a math or science activity.
- Hand Decorating and Measuring
The children will use brightly colored crayons to color their paper hand cutouts. Also provide art manipulates for children to glue onto their cutout such as, glitter, stickers, shapes, etc. Then display the hands in a vertical line on the wall. Have children measure themselves to see how many “hands high” they are. Not only is this an art activity but also a creative way for children to experiment with numbers, counting, and non-standard measurement in their play.
- Friendship Bracelets
As a small group, model and explain how to make an ABAB pattern. Have children create a friendship bracelet using two different colored beads (red, yellow, red, yellow, etc.) Have children explain their pattern, then trade bracelets with a friend. Then, discuss if the patterns are the same? What color would come next? For advanced children you could introduce an AABB or ABC pattern.
- Mixing Colors
For a science activity, model mixing different colors of paint. Have children predict what color will appear. Have children experiment with paint by mixing colors. What happens when you add white paint? This is a great activity to teach children cause and effect.