How Painting Helps a Child’s Development

 How Painting Helps a Child’s Development

A child’s playtime is an essential part of his or her development. Making painting part of that playtime, or even part of daily learning, is tremendously beneficial. Art and painting can aid in a child’s emotional, mental, social, and physical growth.

4 Developmental Benefits of Painting for Children

Emotional Development

It can be difficult to express certain emotions at any point in life, but especially for a child who doesn’t necessarily have the vocabulary yet to verbalize how he or she is feeling. Perhaps your child paints by choosing specific colors to suggest a mood or exaggerates certain features to point out something that is peeking his or her interest. Perhaps you find him or her painting slowly and deliberately with wide brush strokes, or fast and aggressively in tiny spurts. Painting allows children to explore emotions and find safe ways of expressing them. Learning to express yourself and having such efforts valued can do wonders for self-esteem. Additionally, painting is a great way to relieve the stress of such emotions.

Mental Development

Think about all the parts and pieces that come together to form a painting: colors, shapes, placement, observation, interpretation, etc. All of these things a child can discover and learn about just from painting. Using both sides of the brain, the continued development of creativity and logical thinking can occur from something as simple as mixing colors. The actions involved in painting include, but are not limited to, taking risks, critical thinking, and cause and effect. These are all traits that lead to invention and innovation, important traits for any field. With painting, there are no wrong answers. It is the perfect opportunity to learn the value of making mistakes.

Social Development

Although painting is easily something a child can explore by him or herself, the process can also be beneficial when done alongside peers. The act of sharing is always a valuable interaction, as is the lesson of respecting differences. No two children are bound to make the same choices when painting, and this understanding and respect of each other’s creativity is extremely important as they grow. The art world is all around us, and an early exposure will help increase the likelihood of art appreciation as an adult.

Physical Development

Allowing a child to play with paint at an early age is great for developing eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills. Even as a child grows, these traits can continue to be honed through painting. Learning “to see” by training the eye has endless effects on all areas of life. It teaches children to look past, beyond, and deeper into anything that is presented to them. Various tools are used in painting, all of which can add to one’s knowledge of how to use objects of a similar nature (such as writing tools). The connection of the senses to painting also teaches children how to connect more to their environment.

In summary, get your kids painting! Sure, it can be messy. And as parents, it is difficult to sit by and hold back suggestions on how to create that little masterpiece. But the true beauty of painting lies in the exploration and discovery that he or she will make about the world and themselves. What have you discovered about the world or yourself because of painting? How do you plan to pass this along to your child?

Author: Celeste Irving, Writer & Editor, A Grade Ahead

2 responses to “How Painting Helps a Child’s Development

  1. Hello .

    I have left over interior house paint. If a child is supervised closely is it suitable for him to use this paint outside and wearing protective clothing. I would like him to experience painting on a large and uninhibited fashion to be able to express his own style. If you have any ideas to expand on this, I would love to hear from you.

    Kind regards


    1. Hi Karen, thanks for reaching out!

      We’d recommend painting with nontoxic craft paints, especially if that child is a toddler. There are a couple labels to look for when choosing a child-safe paint: the Arts and Crafts Materials Institute Approved Product (AP) seal indicate safety, and a statement saying the product “conforms to ASTM D-4236” indicates that all of the potentially hazardous components have been clearly labelled on the product according to that standard. This article may be helpful!

      Large canvases are a great option to encourage creativity in an uninhibited fashion. If your child is a bit older, he or she may be able to try a nontoxic acrylic paint. Think about getting a white bedsheet and affixing it to cardboard to make an extra large canvas! Many people have success with basic, child-safe craft paints on a bedsheet.

      We hope this helped you. Thanks for reading, Karen! Visit us again soon.

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