How art and fun can build life skills

Every day our kids are experiencing the world: seeing, touching, smelling, hearing and building perceptions. All of these experiences are stored in the mind, just waiting to be expressed.

Art can be an effective form of expression. Giving freedom to create also enriches essential life skills such as collaboration, communication and cognition.

Get your pencils sharpened and the paint brushes cleaned, because we are sharing some of our favorite ideas for kids (and adults!) to create and express. Here are some play tips for enjoying a day of play the artsy way.

Make a meal a work of art

Have you ever noticed that a dinner plate looks kind of like an artist’s paint palette? Well you can bet children have. Let your child be an edible artist with breakfast by making a “dip”-friendly meal. Use different foods such as honey, yogurt and syrup to dip apple slices and French toast sticks. Plus, kids can use fruit to make faces on their pancakes, with banana smiles and blueberry eyes!

If breakfast is not your child’s favorite meal, kids can be creative at lunch and dinner, too. Ketchup, honey mustard and salad dressing can be used to paint chicken nuggets tomato red and carrot sticks ranch dressing white.

Other artistic ideas for the creative culinarians can be helping design a tablescape, plating the food, making placecards or illustrating homemade menu cards.

Let the world be their canvas

Children are very resourceful when given a task. Let kids figure out a way to use items in their environment as their paints and canvas outside. Perhaps they will build a house with sticks? Maybe they will mix food coloring into the snow? Maybe a sand castle will be their creation? There are so many ways to interact with nature that children will be able to create no matter what the season.

If you want to bring nature indoors, there are several artistic mediums that give all of the excitement but none (well maybe some) of the cleanup. Waba Fun’s Kinetic Sand is tactilely inspiring for building castles of all shapes and sizes. Other products that provide mess-free expression include Aquadoodle by TOMY, Boogie Board by Kent Displays, as well as a mess-free line of products from Crayola.

Bedtime=time to work together

Fun and wholesome playtime often inspires opportunities for bonding. Parents, that’s you! There are plenty of ways you can create art together with your child, one of which is creating your own whimsical storybook. The child can be in charge of either the story or the illustrating, and you the other. Laugh together at bedtime when you read the silly stories from your creations.

As children drift off into la-la land after all the day’s activities, their minds will be full of fun from their day of play the artsy way.

Inspired by all the different forms that art can take, children can see that creativity can be applied to all parts of life, from breakfast to bedtime.

For more great ideas

For more information on play products for kids, visit AblePlay is a website sponsored by the National Lekotek Center, an authority on play and children all abilities.

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