Coming home to a wall decorated in crayon and marker by your little one might frustrating, but art and art classes in particular, can be an excellent way to foster creativity and imagination in children.
Southeast Michigan boasts loads of art centers including the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and Abrakadoodle Art Studio for Kids, located in Canton – places where kids can let their creativity flow with summer camps and year round classes.
“The children here absolutely have fun at art camps,” says Annie VanGelderen, president and CEO of the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center. “Some people think it’s just like school, but they have so much fun. We keep them active, they make new friendships, they learn new skills and they’re all happy campers.”
Benefits of arts classes for kids
Why is art education important?
VanGelderen says art is important for young children because it gives them a creative outlet to express feelings they might not be able to verbally express.
“A child may not be able to say something and be really eloquent for how they feel,” she says. “As adults we tend to be more timid about our self expression and children are free to do that.”
Dawn Kelly, the director of the franchise Abrakadoodle, which offers in-school art instruction and enrichment programs like classes and camps for ages 2 through 17, says, “I think art is important just in general because it gives kids the opportunity to be creative and imaginative.”
“There aren’t too many subjects that are fun and teach you to create something from nothing,” she adds. “We find it helps in other core curriculum subjects, because there are a number of students who are visual learners.”
Learning new skills
At the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, kids in preschool all the way to high school can explore art in a multitude of mediums. VanGelderen says kids can use paint, fiber art, clay and more to create unique works of art.
“Our hope is to let them explore what medium might be interesting to them and hone in on their skills that way,” she adds.
Kelly says one of the main skills kids learn through art classes is problem solving.
“They’re creating on their own so they learn problem solving and coming up with solutions instead of starting over all the time,” she says. “It teaches them to be comfortable with their own creativity. There are some students who haven’t had art and they have difficulty writing a paragraph about what they did over the summer.”
“Kids who have had art are already comfortable creating and that’s a huge skill they can carry on through high school and college,” she adds.
Make art at home
“Don’t be afraid to pull out the crayons, paper plates, glue and the markers,” VanGelderen says. “It’s OK to bring out the materials. You don’t have to be an art teacher to explore art with a child.”
Kelly says parents can provide art supplies and leave their kids to create whatever they choose or provide light direction by asking things like, “What’s your favorite tree? Can you draw it for me?”
“A lot of schools have taken art out of the curriculum, but we think it’s critically important,” she says.
“Facebook and Google – creative minds create those types of businesses,” Kelly adds. “Anything that can foster that type of creativity is important.”