We all want the best for our children, so when it comes to choosing which extra-curricular activities, it can be a difficult decision. If there’s an option that will develop social and emotional capabilities, help them do better in school and help them navigate their journey through to adulthood, then we’d be mad not to look into it. Well, look no further than the arts.

Not only does participation in the arts help children to grow up to be self-confident, self-disciplined lifelong learners, it also nurtures key skills such as critical thinking, imagination, collaboration, problem-solving, communication, agility and empathy.

Decades worth of international research attests to the fact that the arts have a number of developmental benefits for children. Participation in the arts is among the most profoundly important and valuable ways to improve learning and promote success in a child’s development.

The Australian Curriculum groups the arts into five areas; dance, drama, media, music and visual arts. Each has specific processes, skill bases and disciplines that they draw on. These different arts areas have some similar elements and approaches. These include knowing through doing and creating, with children learning to express ideas and emotions through voice, movement, actions and different expressive forms, all the while encouraging them to look at things from a different perspective.

Art helps develop their cognitive, social and motor skills.

Current longitudinal research suggests that participation in arts based activities leads to improvements in many academic areas including literacy. It also impacts on ‘soft skills’ or ‘non-academic’ areas including empathy building, confidence, motivation and engagement.

These essential life-skills are core components to raising a strong and resilient child. The artistic experience accelerates the production of endorphins that naturally improve a child’s mindset and mental health well-being. Their cognitive development is rapidly advanced when learning through play.

It is particularly noteworthy to mention that it also helps develop children’s knowledge and understanding of social cues and their ability to step into someone else’s shoes, and in turn develop empathy. Giving your child an opportunity to take on a different persona provides them with an outlet or reason to be the extroverted king or queen, when at home they are the introverted one in the family. Studies have shown that experiencing the world from different perspectives helps children’s social development.

These are all great reasons to get your children involved in the arts especially during their early development.

But just as important is the fact that children delight in exploring and creating with art materials. As young children explore paint by putting it all over their hands, or create collages with torn paper, or dance or act on the stage, it’s noticeable how involved they get in their activities. As they progress into school and beyond, art activities continue to provide opportunities for children’s brain development and mastery and is great for their self-esteem and creativity.

Art experiences help children to develop so many life skills so find out what interests your little one and start them on their art journey; you won’t regret it.