Art is important for child development.
It is relaxing, calming, fun to do and has lots of hidden benefits for the child.
It is a way for children to communicate their feelings.
It encourages creativity, problem solving, builds focus & eye hand coordination.
Research has shown that art helps children build empathy and love ; improve reading / math skills and strengthen finger muscles to prepare for writing.
Children in the first plane of development(0-6 years of age) are more process oriented than product oriented. They enjoy the process of cutting and gluing, mixing colors ,drawing with different color pencils even though it might look like scribbles at first.
At that age, they are exerting their maximum strength and focus to create their masterpiece. Encourage it, ask appropriate questions and commend them for their “effort”.
You could say something like, Can you tell me about your picture? what did you use to make it? What can we name your picture? where we can put it ? What’s your favorite part?
The one phrase you want to avoid is “It’s beautiful”. Even though it seems the right thing to say, that makes the child want to create something to please you. They should do the art project for their own self, not to please someone. That’s why its important to commend them for their effort- “I see you worked so hard on this drawing”, that must have taken a lot of work to use those different colors”.
It is important to give child time and space to do their art work. Let it be their work. The way they want to do it. Don’t force or correct it. Of course, safety will always be important. General guidelines about scissors, glue and other art supplies should be communicated to the child in an age-appropriate way.
These would be my recommendations for basic art supplies to have at home for toddlers and primary aged children: Sketch pad, crayons, color pencils, paint, scissors, construction paper,liquid glue.
Other supplies like chalk, stickers, jewels, pipe cleaners, tissue papers,markers, water color paint, stampers etc are optional but nice to have based on the child’s age and interests.
Let children be explorers and use different materials in varied ways to create their masterpiece.
Check montessorireflections_geetha for pictures and videos for various art projects.