Art is sort of a big deal in our house. Since our first daughter was 22 months old she’s had a crayon in her hand. When Santa brought her an easel for Christmas at age two it was like the gods from heaven started singing as she drew and drew and drew. She hasn’t put the pencil down since, and every morning before school I seriously have to rip the sketch book away from her. She also gets in trouble racing through tests so she can draw on the other side. She’s taken art classes, we belong to Young at Art Museum, but there has been one constant art influence in her life, Rob Cabrera.
I’ve written about Rob before, as he’s the mastermind behind the artwork on this site, and actually pushed me to start blogging. He’s also the Digital Arts Director at YAA, a teacher, as well as an animator and artist. I can usually round him up every once in a while for an art lesson, and he always inspires our daughter’s creativity. I decided to chat with him a bit though about why art matters in a children’s curriculum, and if a child doesn’t show interest in art…what do we do?
why is art important?
Rob: There’s three main ways that art benefits kids: visual learning, refinement of fine motor skills, and it helps in academic performance by developing the problem solving and decision making skills. The creative process requires artists to make choices, and making choices leads to enhancing critical thinking skills which is at the heart of learning.
what if they just don’t like it?
Rob: As Pablo Picasso once said “All kids are artists – the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” While each of our children is different and has unique interests, it’s important to cultivate creativity, as it helps with overall development of the human being. You gain appreciation and are able to look at the world through different lenses when you have that background.
any ideas for kids that can’t sit still to color or draw?
Rob: If they don’t have the passion to create sketches or paintings, one thing that helps is working with clay…it helps children’s motor skills. Clay strengthens the young artists hands that helps with sports too! It helps them grip the football and baseball, and helps enhance their hand dexterity…they can develop different touches. Collages also help with visual spatial development. When they’re able to put shapes together in a way that pleases them, it helps to identify objects, colors, symbols and helps promote cultural awareness.
For those of you looking for another tool to help introduce art to your kids, Rob just released his first book, an e-book called RobArt: Sketch. It’s an instructional and digital art book that meshes sketches that can be printed, along with video tutorials narrated by Rob that show the creative process in action. Rob told me, “I wanted to create this because it’s always been in my nature to help people, and one of the things I get asked to do is to show people how to draw. It combines sketch concepts and other techniques artists use, and gives people a foundation to create the kind of art that they want.”
It’s also pretty darn cool! As Rob states in the book’s foreward, it’s the kind of book he wishes he had as a kid…and perfect for our little artist! Lila was mesmerized as she held the iPad in her lap and watched every single video. I read some of the text to her…and then she was off, creating and watching them over again. In the past we’ve watched videos of art and drawing on YouTube, but she was really taken by the instruction. This book wasn’t necessarily intended for children, but Rob’s natural way of teaching, paired with the easy and uplifting voice overs and music really held her attention. And I’m not just saying that because he’s a friend, at only $2.99 it’s an easy buy! RobArt: Sketch is only available now for the iPad, but will be released later for Android and Kindle.
Hope you’ll give it a shot, and don’t forget to inspire your little artists! You never know…they may be a fashion designer…or a football player?
Creative Mama Renee says
Love this article! Art is so important – it makes me angry that creative programs like the arts and music are being cut from schools. Santa got my youngest an easel this Christmas and he loves drawing and painting, plus we enjoy playing and drawing with sidewalk chalk on our sunny California afternoons.
Crystal Bissonnette says
Art was an important part of my life as a child and into early adult hood. I use to take art classes after school and would draw & paint at home. I loved it and was good at it. Now having children of my own I get to watch that part of me ignite in my 4 year old. He loves painting, drawing, projects and play doh. He is always so proud of himself. I hope and encourage that this will continue. Tonight is the preschools first are show and he is so excited for us to go.
Your daughter is very talented. Truly a gift!
Thank you – we are very inspired by her dedication to art at such a young age. She is teaching me everyday! have fun at the art show…it’s so much fun to see them flourish!
Every school administrator should read this! Why is it so difficult for us to see that the educational benefits of a particular subject or activity aren’t only specific to that particular thing? Kids learn best when subjects and learning styles are integrated, not cut out for lack of funding.
I love the suggestions he gives for kids who might not want to sit still for long too. There are a lot more options than a paper and crayons.
Yes and I wish art was an hour instead of 30 minutes!!
Jennifer Oradat says
Yes! The arts all matter, and it’s so important to encourage them. <3 this!
I just read something about how adults should color more as a de-stressing technique. I think we should take a note out of Rob’s book – for those adults who don’t like to color, use clay. I love the images, both Lila’s and Rob’s.
yes! We do lots of artistic things together, fun to unleash our inner artists! Feeds the soul…
Love this post. Great interview.
This is beautiful and so true! Thank you so much for posting this and for sharing why art is so important!
We are big fans of art here too. I love giving my children a chance to express themselves and to explore different ways of looking at the world.
Art is so big in our house! My mom is an artist, Cassidy is an art major, and my grandfather was featured on Martha Stewart and in “Who’s Who in American Art.”
My mom believes and teachers her students that every kid is an artist and we all have these capabilities. I feel sad that I didn’t cultivate mine but I was so interested in reading, writing and photography that I have to believe I did work on it, however differently than expected.
I can’t get a pencil and sketchbook out of Scarlet’s hands either!
I totally agree. Art plays such an important role in a child’s development, regardless of their skill. It’s all about those connections that form in the brain while they are creating. One of the things I fell in love with my children’s school is their art program and their amazing art teacher. It is amazing what she can get out of the kids, even the ones who say they can’t draw.
Matt C. says
Interesting, Kristen. Thanks for these insights. For years I’ve felt that taking Art and Music out of our schools has resulted in there being considerably less dynamic thinkers in todays society. When I went to school there was a room full of art supplies available to me. Directly across the hall from the art room there was an even bigger room full of musical instruments. I became a different person for the influence both art and music had on my understanding of myself and, more importantly, of the world around me.
Once a child learns how to paint a tree, grass, or a bird, or once they learn how to pick up an instrument and coax something magical from it, they begin to see the world with a little more tenderness while also understanding its complexities with a bit more depth. That’s what I read into Bob’s comment about critical thinking. Art encourages/forces children not only to make choices but to understand the consequences of them. It’s that ability that helps children become teenagers and then adults.
I would not be WHO I am or WHERE I am without the influence of both art and music. So thanks for your thoughtfulness and insights, Kristen. It’s wonderful to see that there are still people out there trying to shine a light on topics like this. Your work is valuable and very much appreciated!
YES my friend art matter – and all kids need to be inspired to listen to their inner voice and create. LOVE you!!
he’s really good. and agree – art is incredibly important.. especially for kids growing, developing minds!
Love this! My son was never big into art, but he is starting to get into a bit now that he is older. Mila LOVES art and coloring, she has been obsessed from the start.
I love this. Art is my daughter’s love and one of our favorite things to do together!
I so agree. Art is huge at our house. I have always encouraged the kids to be creative. I am also known to just sit down and draw with the kids.
I love this – what an awesome inspiration for your daughter. Our kids love to draw too – and paint on their easel – so much in fact that I think we need to buy another one.
I love seeing your daughter’s art – she’s really talented.
Aubrey @ 53 Weeks says
I like the clay suggestion, we’ve only gone as far as crayons and water paints…no play doh..yet!! eek!! My boys do like to be creative, but they don’t sit still for long. I agree though, art is an important part of development and such a great creative outlet!
Our family is always drawing! I find sometimes that I can learn a lot more about how my children feel through their art than through their words! I love that Rob now has an ebook! Going to check it out for sure!
Allie Smith says
This is great Kristen! It makes me sad that art in school is no longer a priority. Interestingly, my son with autism gets to do art every day, even now in middle school. It is such a great teaching and therapy tool! It amazes me that they can see the benefits in special education, but ignore them in the main stream.
Art is so important. We have a ton of arts and crafts supplies. My daughter also likes to draw on the back of her tests. These are great tips.
I love this! That Picasso quote is great and I think it’s so true. I’m certainly one of those people that lost the artist in me as I grew up! But there are so many different ways for kids to express themselves creatively- clay is a great, tactile things to do, as well as finger painting. Thanks, popping by from SITS Sharefest!
Bravo and I could not agree with you more. All children should be introduced to the Arts. Whether it be Art, Music, Drama, or whatever they should be given the opportunity to explore this avenue. Our youngest is infatuated with horses and when not on one, she is crafting our of leather saddles and halters for her model horses…. Art Matters very much.
Keisha | The Girl Next Door is Black says
Love these sketches!
Art is so important for kids. I’m so grateful I had artistic influences in my life growing up. Great post!
Jaya Pandey says
My daughter loves art and is always ready for it. I love all the tips Rob gave here. Its important to keep them in mind as she grows up.