Art and the Young Child

Art plays an important role in young children’s lives. It gives them opportunities to experiment creatively with color, line, shape, design, size and texture. 

Art is a way for children to:

  • express themselves
  • plan
  • learn through trial and error; and
  • create something that is uniquely their own

They develop fine motor skills experimenting with crayons, chalk, markers and different sized brushes. They learn about making choices when choosing colors and they learn about cause and effect when mixing colors. Working with art materials is very exciting for young children and can help develop confidence and self- awareness. 

For a child, it is not the product that is most important but the process. When exploring art with children here are a few things to keep in mind:  

  • Avoid drawing for children.
  • Express interest in children’s art but don’t praise every piece. 
  • Quality of materials are important. 

For more detail about "things to keep in mind" click here!

Books about Children and Art

Rapunzel's Supermarket: All about Young Children and Their Art
First Art : Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos 
The Art of Teaching Art to Children: In School and at Home 
Understanding Children's Drawings 
The Language of Art: Reggio-Inspired Studio Practices in Early Childhood Settings 
The Creative Arts: A Process Approach for Teachers and Children (5th Edition)
In The Spirit Of The Studio: Learning From The Atelier Of Reggio Emilia (Early Childhood Education)

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Summer Langille, M.A, Early Childhood Education Specializing 0-8 Years

Summer has been working with children for almost 15 years. The oldest of four she’s always seen herself as a caregiver. She started off caring for children as a nanny for many years. She received her undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies from San Francisco State University and has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education specializing in birth to age eight from Long Beach State. She’s worked with infants all the way up to elementary aged children in center-based care, private school care, home-based care, back-up care and afterschool care. She was a lead teacher for an infant program and more recently a two year old/preschool program. She even had a brief stint as a brownie girl scout troop leader. She’s passionate about quality care for children and thinks the environment plays a large role in how a child learns effectively. She loves art, blocks, music, fairy gardens and picture books and wants all caregivers of children to know how important their job is to the children they care for. Summer is currently home with her baby, navigating this new role as Mama. She blogs about her family at www.summerplayshouse.com.