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Artistic Expression Yields Lifelong Benefits

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

When children, families, and our community partners gather for Edward Street’s 12th annual Day of Play Family Festival this summer, they’ll have plenty of opportunities for creative play. 

For good reason. 

A growing body of research is proving what early educators and parents have always known: artistic expression has wide-ranging benefits for growing children.

Problem-solving skills that last a lifetime 

“Children who are using the arts are better problem solvers,” says Susan Magsamen, co-author of “ Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us” and founder of the International Arts + Mind Lab, Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  

The reason is simple.

When they challenge themselves to draw, paint, or sculpt an image that mirrors the image in their minds, children are experimenting with different tools, methods, and mental processes. This is critical to the development of problem-solving skills that will serve them in all facets of life. In fact, creativity also strengthens executive functioning and memory too, Magsmamen says, with ripple effects through high school, college, and careers.

Experts say it’s important to emphasize a creative style known as “process art.” Instead of strict guidelines, process art emphasizes free expression and minimizes perfectionism. 

What’s it lead to? 

“Research indicates that a child who is exposed to the arts acquires a special ability to think creatively, be original, discover, innovate, and create intellectual property — key attributes for individual success and social prosperity in the twenty-first century,” says the International Child Art Foundation.

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Neural connections and fine motor skills that benefit all aspects of life 

Whether using a paintbrush to draw shapes and lines or scissors to cut paper, artistic expression challenges dexterity and coordination. This helps children build skills that support elementary school success, such as handwriting. 

Even random scribbling moves children closer to drawing each letter of the alphabet.

Creativity aids social-emotional growth for children of any age 

Children are new to the world, so it stands to reason they’re absorbing tons of new information from the outside world as well as their own feelings and emotions. 

Drawing, painting, sculpture, music, dance and other activities help them process this information in a safe, multi-dimensional way. Doing so is extra-important for young children, who are still developing language skills. 

Art also helps children connect with one another.  

In her book The Artful Parent, author Jean Van’t Hul calls art the “great equalizer.” She explains that it helps children form relationships, regardless of their ages, home languages, and other differences. (Check out artfulparent.com for fun activities your family can do at home.)

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Edward Street supports the arts at Day of Play and our annual children’s art show

To support and encourage healthy development, Edward Street organizes an annual children’s art show in collaboration with local early education and care programs. 

Virtual tours of our 2022 art show, Play Through the Lens of a Child, and our 2021 art show, Spring is Bursting Out All Over, can be found on our website. Our 2023 art show, Where in the World is Piet Mondrian?, runs through the middle of May at the Printer’s Building, 50 Portland Street, Worcester, and a virtual tour is coming soon. (Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn for updates.) 

Plus, Edward Street’s annual Day of Play Family Festival features tons of opportunities to enjoy the arts.  

This year’s Day of Play Family Festival takes place on June 17th from 11AM-4PM at Worcester’s Elm Park.

There are tons of arts-related activities at Day of Play, like a painting game hosted by Quinsigamond Community College’s Student Child Study Club and sidewalk chalk drawing hosted by the Worcester Art Museum. Worcester Center for Crafts is bringing a wet felting activity and Creative Hub will help your family learn printmaking.

Plus, enjoy music and dance performances by Da Zone, Chuck & Mud, ACE Drummers, and Crocodile River Music. 

We’ll see you there!

Edward Street proudly supports high quality early learning and care. Donate today so children, families, and businesses can thrive, and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.