They practice problem-solving when they ask questions like “What color should I make the dog?” And when they move their crayon on paper to make a mark, they learn cause and effect. They learn their colors. And they learn new ways to express themselves.

Children learn more from art if you give them freedom to create—if you let them make decisions on their own. To help your child explore his world through art:

  • Don’t tell your child what to create. Remember the process of creating is more important than what your child ends up with.

  • Help your child get started. Say your child wants to draw a cat, but he doesn’t know where to begin. Ask, “What is a cat like? What’s the biggest part of his body? How many legs does a cat have?”

  • Provide a variety of art supplies. Look for things around the house—glue, fabric scraps, coffee filters, egg cartons, catalogs, paper towel tubes, string, and yarn.

  • Don’t just say “That’s pretty.” Describe what your child has done. Talk about the colors and materials he used. Note what you like most.

  • Give your child a chance to talk about what he made. What is it? How did he do it? How does he feel about it?

  • Proudly display your child’s work. Put it on the wall or refrigerator. Send it to relatives.

  • Be patient and sensitive. If your child doesn’t want to get his hands dirty, don’t push him. Introduce materials slowly. Remember, art should be fun.

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