“Mommy! I want to paint!”
My daughter, almost 3 years old, would literally paint every single day of her life if I let her, and I love it. As a former teacher, I understand how creativity at such a young age is huge in their overall cognitive development. It’s messy, it’s a pain in the rear, and it requires long clean-ups (sometimes), but it’s totally beneficial and I’ll explain why!
The 7 major benefits of painting with your toddler are that painting:
It teaches them hand-eye coordination.
When your toddler goes off to school, he/she will be expected to have some level of hand-eye coordination. It is learned in a number of ways, including sports and other coloring and drawing activities, but I taught a 1st grade summer class one year and hand-eye coordination was a major issue.
Other things you can do for hand-eye coordination are writing letters/drawing pictures and throwing a ball.
It creates an awareness of colors and how they mix.
Your toddler will notice the wide array of colors, especially when you forget to add one of them to your artist’s palette. Over time, your toddler will also notice how the colors mix, and what color that new creation becomes. It’s amazing how their minds absorb this kind of information!
It allows them to experience self-expression.
Many toddlers have a difficult time expressing themselves and their emotions around the ages of 2-4. This painting exercise gives them the opportunity to let it all out on their piece of paper (and sometimes the floor below). This is when you might notice your child painting a picture of his family, or of a beautiful flower he picked with you. It’s a way for them to express what is on their mind, and it can sometimes leave you in tears.
It’s a confidence booster.
Being a toddler going through tremendous changes in the brain and trying to figure life out is pretty hard, so confidence in themselves is something that they probably need. A little boost. My daughter has started mailing her paintings out to people because she is so proud of her artwork.
It’s a stress reliever.
The act of creating something is soothing. This may not be true for everyone, but it sure is for my daughter and I! I notice that she puts all of her focus into her art piece, so any outside negativity (like not finding the other pink sock) just slowly fades away.
It’s an opportunity for them to be social.
If you are painting alongside your child, or just simply observing while sitting next to him/her, you might find that your little Picasso gets chatty. My daughter loves to talk and talk and talk, just telling me stories about everyone and everything via one long run-on sentence. Always happy stories with lots of giggles. This type of social interaction is positive, and a very bonding thing between a mother and a daughter as well.
It grows their imagination.
Creativity is not a skill, it’s a talent. It is one of the most neglected parts of the brain because the school environment doesn’t always foster it in this day and age. By handing your toddler a paintbrush, you’re allowing them to explore all possibilities with those paints. Your toddler will analyze the colors of the paint, and strategically create a perfect masterpiece.
Don’t forget to download your free alphabet painting activity below!