Celebrate the Month of the Young Child Through the Visual Arts!

a toddler holding sandbox toy and smiling. Adult woman is smiling at the child.

Building on the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s original Week of the Young Child, Port Discovery now recognizes the full month of April as the Month of the Young Child. For us, this is a time to celebrate early childhood play and learning, and the educators and caregivers who are supporting these exciting and critical developmental years! This year, Port Discovery has joined with Arts for Learning to highlight opportunities for young children to engage in visual arts activities.

From infancy into the early elementary years, engaging in the visual arts provides young children with a fun, creative, and immediate way to strengthen their skills across the physical, social-emotional, and cognitive domains of development. Here are a few ways young artists benefit:

  • Choice and Independence: No matter what medium children choose—painting, drawing, sculpture—they are making decisions about their creative process and the steps they want to take to bring it to life. Creating art means that problem-solving is taking place, which means children are growing as experimental and innovative thinkers.
  • Creativity and Innovation: The 21st century job market prizes critical thinkers who are confident in their ability to get creative and innovate. Taking part in the visual arts while children are young provides them with the environment to strengthen these all-important life skills.
  • Collaboration and Team Work: In Port Discovery’s art studio, kids work together to share and rotate supplies, make space for their creative process, and even co-create new art. A shared studio space is the perfect medium for developing collaboration and team work skills.
  • Fine Motor Skills: Arts activities are a great way for young children to practice incrementally more complex fine motor skills. For young fingers, larger crayons, markers, pencils, and children’s scissors are well-suited to building strength and dexterity; as children grow, there are many other alternatives to use increasingly challenging tools such as small brushes, rulers, and glue products.
  • Spatial Awareness and Early Math: The visual arts are a vibrant platform for exploring all kinds of early math skill building, from basic shapes, patterns, and spatial awareness for younger children to measurement and perspective for children in the early grades.
  • Language Development and Early Literacy: Art activities are a wonderful environment to practice naming colors, shapes, and identifying new vocabulary words. Even for our youngest artists, educators and caregivers can create opportunities for language development by talking about what they see as they create or even just watch.

When you visit Port Discovery, we invite you as educators, and our young visitors, into our Studio Workshop Space to explore all the creativity, fun, and skill-building that visual arts activities offer!

Month of the Young Child Visual Arts and Young Children: A Suggested Reading List