Emma Shipway

The Value of creative family time.
   Family time spent together is so valuable and important to create memories,  fun times and family bonding. In today’s busy family and school lives so much emphasis is placed on education. The value  of academic subjects, Languages, after-school clubs and sports are often seen as so important for our children future. Arts and crafts are encouraged in the early foundation years at school and then pushed aside for maths, English, handwriting, reading, sports, science etc. It is then only a few children who are given the opportunity to be creative in their home or gain experiences outside of school. Don’t get me wrong I think academic subjects are very important, however I feel letting our children be creative with arts and crafts is equally just as important. A child’s Education stretches far beyond the classroom. It extends into their outside of school environment where they live and should get the chance to play.
   Some see arts as just fun frills, an un-useful waste of time, However I strongly believe it is and should be viewed as a central piece in the education puzzle. It can play a central and important role in learning and development. Whilst I fully appreciate there is little time in the school day for educators to allow for creative time it is left to us as parents. We can encourage within the home, providing our time along side materials and space to be creative. Art based activities at home can develop artistic learning which can encourage children to think in a more challenging and creative manner than other subjects may let them, especially if your child struggles with the concepts of maths and English. Activities Art and craft based can create the opportunity for families to stay connected whilst having fun together as children and teens are naturally creative in nature. This can lead to great family bonding time. Shared time can encourage and give your child the opportunity  to be successful and build a positive self-concept, be more excited about learning, more motivated and more willing to participate in activities at home and school. This can be very important for there well-being especially if they are struggling academically in school.
   Creative art activities can help children in all areas of development:
    Social development – when you spend time with your child they learn to share, interact with others,to be responsible for clean up and to put materials away. This all has a positive and important effect on social learning.
    Physical development – using crayons, felt-tips and paintbrushes help children practise their fine motor skills which support children’s large and small muscles development as well as their eye-hand coordination. This in turn will help them with the fine motor skills they need for writing.
    Cognitive development – Art based activities can assist with cognitive development as young children can learn the names of colour and shapes. They find out what happens when they mix primary colours together to get a secondary colour. This helps them to develop observation skills needed for science. Art teaches children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer. It can also teach that small differences can have large effect. Arts can engage a child’s brain including helping them with the skills needed for decision-making, action planning, physical movement and their memory. The attention to detail is a critical component in reading skills too. Are you beginning to see the links where one skill leads to another?
   Imagination and experimentation – children’s active imaginations can take shape through their art. Fostering creativity in childhood gives us the tools as adults to find new ways to look at things. Through active experimentation they can learn skills that can help them invent something new when they grow up.
   Emotional development – Whilst creating masterpieces children are given the chance to try out problem solving and thinking skills it helps your child or yourself to find new ways of looking at things. Times spent together creating can allow them to take risks without failure whilst learning from mistakes. It provides the opportunity to help make sense of the world around them and allows for them to express their feelings. In turn they may be able to represent experiences that they cannot verbalise ‘learn to say – what cannot be said’. Learn to adapt and overcome problems faced along the way. When we value our children’s creativity we help them feel valued as people raising their self-esteem. They can gain confidence in their own ideas whilst respecting others. The skills to think in and out of the box whilst solving complex problems.
   So to summarize in order to be creative a person really needs to let go of the need to be ‘perfect’ or ‘right’. Art based activities allows us to be willing to try new things, express ideas and explore the world around us. Art based activities such as experimenting with texture, space and colours in a piece of art helps children improve their co-ordination, fine motor skills and their critical thinking ability which in turn boosts their self-confidence, esteem and can provides them with the tools they need to communicate effectively.