Why allowing your child to use their imagination through creative outlets is important for their development.
Gone are the days of exploring outside, riding bikes and building cubby houses with the kids next door. As a mother of 6 children, I have come to realize that technology isn't just robbing us of our time and relationships, it's also stealing our imaginations, and our children are suffering as a result.
As a kid, I remember my sister and I taking off on adventures to the moon! When we landed there, we fought aliens and carefully jumped from rock to rock, in fear that if we touched the molten lava crackling below, we would surely die! Really though... our old swing set in the yard became our rocket. The large pepper-corn trees became over-sized aliens trying to chase us. We jumped from garden rock to garden rock trying to escape and were weary not to touch the crushed blue gravel (lava) in between! This was once known as using our imagination.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself on the lounge, watching my own children around me that were utterly engrossed in the latest Xbox game or chatting to their friends online. In that very moment, I came to see, that kids of today don't need to think for themselves. Thanks to virtual reality, children don't need to imagine taking off to the moon because with little or no effort at all, they can do it with a press of a button.
Picture supplied/owned by Blaire Krefts
As a graphic designer, I even find myself often "falling victim" to the so-called benefits of technology. I will be the first to admit that computers have given me a false sense of security. Have you ever been so use to using your phone, you rely on spell check to spell for you? The next time you go to write a handwritten letter or fill out forms you forget how that darn word is spelled? Or when you sit down to draw on paper, then make a mistake and think to yourself "oh that's OK, I can just press delete or revert back to the previous change that I saved?" HA! I know I have. It's almost like technology has made it too easy, too perfect. This is where we lose touch.
There are many proven benefits to creative thinking. Art is not just a hobby, it is an essential building block to a child's development. Art teaches skills that no computer game can. It allows a place to escape from being distracted and over stimulated, it can relax a person and create a sense of mindfulness. Research suggests that some of the benefits include but are not limited to: an increase in fine motor skills, problem solving, decision making, inventiveness, cultural awareness and academic performance.
Picture supplied/ owned by Karla Gilchrist
Drawing upon the research of how creative classes can benefit children, is what led my husband and I to establish Artventurous Kids. We believe that every piece you create can take you on an adventure, Children will be taught that imperfection is ok and often leads to new ways of doing things and problem solving. Artventurous Kids is a place to enjoy, experiment and be encouraged. We strongly believe that every child can benefit from our classes. We push art to its limits and teach children how to make pieces that can be both functional as well as beautiful. The key aspect of the curriculum is designed to show students that using your mind and hands is fulfilling, and that creating friendships and interacting face to face with like-minded kids can be both rewarding and inspiring. We have a responsibility as parents, to not lose touch with the very thing that makes us unique - our imagination.
By Karla Gilchrist (Mother of 6, Graphic Artist & Founder of Artventurous Kids.)