Art and Children

Art Benefits Children Cognitively, Socially, and Physically

Thank you, Jean, for the opportunity to talk about how art benefits children.

Our creative and wise God has wonderfully made each child, weaving him or her into an intricate and connected whole. So not surprisingly, many studies show creative activities, such as art, music, and drama, help children do better in all subjects.

In this post I’ll…

  1. list benefits educators see from children’s participation in art.
  • share easy, fun ways you can enjoy art with children.
  • give you some helpful resources.

Benefits in cognitive, social, and physical development from art

  • Using crayons and scissors, and other art tools helps children develop fine motor skills.
  • Looking at artworks help children develop better observation skills.
  • Discussing artworks builds vocabulary and social skills.
  • Describing what they see in an artwork helps children learn to visualize, improving comprehension in reading.
  • Art activities help develop visual/spatial skills and how to understand and use visual information—important in learning to interpret photos, graphs, maps, etc.
  • When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.
  • Art gives children opportunities to explore their interests and talents.

Art activities to enjoy with children

  • Enjoy creating art with your child, using markers, scissors, paint, yarn, etc. Especially fun after looking at an artwork together.
  • Looking at paintings together improves cognitive and social skills. Ask children to tell what’s going on in the painting and what tells them that. Then have them to tell what else they see.
    • Invite children to tell what they think will happen next in a painting.
    • Enhance observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary. Help them see nuances of color such as blue greens, lime greens, etc.                  
  • Have them go on a scavenger hunt to find objects or shapes, colors, patterns, etc. in a painting.
  • Invite children to take an imaginary walk into a landscape, describing what they see, hear, smell, and touch as they travel from the foreground, through the middle ground, to the background.
  • Discuss how artists show sitters’ interests and personalities in portraits. Ask children what they’d put in their self-portraits.
  • Write similes and metaphors describing a painting’s sky, trees, buildings, etc.
  • Compare and contrast two similar paintings, such as two landscapes. Write comparing and contrasting compositions.


  • Art museums—many now have children’s guides. Keep visits short.
  • Online—large museums often have interactive sites.
  • Libraries—recent years have seen an explosion of art books for children.


Kathy loves to help children and adults understand great art and encourage them to enjoy creating their own great art! She is an educator, writer, and speaker, with many years’ experience in Christian schools, public schools, and homeschool as well as adult groups. She writes devotions for The Quiet Hour and other devotionals, as well as nonfiction articles for children’s magazines, such as Highlights. On her blog she explains how to look at great paintings, followed by a devotion to point children and adults to God. These are followed by a related art project to do with children.    


One Comment on “Art and Children

  1. Pingback: Ten of My Favorite Paintings | Kathy, The Picture Lady

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