We all want to help our children reach for the stars and shoot for the moon! Art is such a wonderful way for kids to express themselves, while developing such important skills as creativity and problem-solving. Art – whether in creation or appreciation – entails learning to see, interpret and understand. Children can translate their internal vision or depict images based upon external sources of inspiration, both of which provide young artists with material to draw upon and feed into their art practice.
Original art by Shantrice, age 13 of Michigan who write of her art, “Darkness falls; light revolves”
Explore your child’s unique view! Provide your child with some basic supplies, such as blank paper, pencils, markers and crayons. Strike up a conversation about the stars, moon, planets, as well as our sun and sky. Connect with your child’s natural enthusiasm and clever ideas by encouraging him/her to create art that captures these unique imaginings.
Abrakadoodle students develop important creativity skills!
Abrakadoodle conducted research during the 2011-2012 school year to determine if students exhibited gains when participating in the Abrakadoodle Art Education Program. Abrakadoodle provides a total art curriculum, art instruction conducted by an Abrakadoodle trained teacher and art materials at charter schools and private schools around the country. Students who were new to the Abrakadoodle program were tested in the fall and then again after participating in the Abrakadoodle program for seven months. The Educational Resource Group administered the Torrance® Tests of Creative Thinking. Fifty-two (52) second and fifth grade students from diverse backgrounds took part.
Overall grade scores for the entire group increased by 7 percentage points, as the scores related to the national averages. Most dramatic results were apparent among the fifth grade students, who had scored significantly below the national averages in the pretest. In addition to the Abrakadoodle Art in Our World Curriculum and Education Program, fifth graders had participated in Abrakadoodle’s Creativity Boost™ Exercises.
The highly reliable Torrance® Tests of Creative Thinking TTCT are the most widely used tests of their kind. Students in this study participated in the Figural TTCT Forms A and B: Thinking Creatively with Pictures, which includes exercises to assess five characteristics related to creative thinking. Scoring was based upon grade-related norms. The TTCT is most widely used to determine eligibility for talented and gifted programs. Normative data has been gathered from more than 55,000 students in the US and Canada. The test has been offered in more than 35 countries.
According to Mary C. Rogers, MA.ED, CEO and Co-founder of Abrakadoodle, “We know that student creative abilities decrease as they move through the grades. We are encouraged by preliminary results that may indicate that students who participate in Abrakadoodle’s quality art education programs can slow and even reverse that trend. We anticipate conducting further research to more fully assess the effects of our program on student creativity. Part of what makes our art education program unique is our devotion to creativity skills development, which is an important component of our Art in Our World Curriculum and Education Program.”
We’re hearing a lot about sporting activities for the youngest children. Our specialty is art, and we have lots of experience with young kids, having developed art programs that have reached more than 250,000 children. Art is a great first for toddlers! In Abrakadoodle’s Twoosy Doodlers program, children ages 20-36 months explore art and creativity in a safe and nurturing environment. They use their hands and senses in new ways. At the same time their parents learn about the skills their children are developing and what is developmentally appropriate.
Abrakadoodle’s special parent/child class is often the first educational program for our Twoosys. Young children learn about color, texture, art tools and more while developing fine motor skills and cognitive abilities. They experiment with new and innovative materials. Importantly, parents/caregivers learn what they can do to help nurture creativity and early childhood development!
While some early childhood programs may be controversial, Abrakadoodle was designed and developed by educators with a clear focus on helping children develop important skills. CEO Mary Rogers holds a Masters in Education and is concerned about school readiness. “We see an alarming number of students who enter school without well developed fine motor skills needed for writing, drawing and academic areas. This is a big change from just twenty years ago. While children may be skilled in using a mouse or game controller, they are just not getting enough experience with scissors, pencils, crayons and paste. We give young children those experiences while helping them to also express their individual creativity.”
According to Zero to Three, “research and clinical experience also demonstrate that health and development are directly influenced by the quality of care and experiences a child has with his parents and other adults.” Participating in an educational program that helps develop skills for both parent and child is a winner!
Let’s bring back old-fashioned play A child’s art education and creativity development begins at home with simple yet powerful art materials (no batteries needed). Art is one of the most inventive ways children can play and express themselves with originality and creativity. With the proliferation of expensive, interactive toys that are supposedly better and more stimulating for your child, simple but sensational play activities may be shelved. Over the past few decades, mass marketing has convinced many parents that the more a toy does the better.
Less is more when it comes to creative play. Children would benefit immensely from a move back to natural and open-ended toys and activities. The 50th anniversary of the Crayola 64 Box, which remains one of Crayola’s most popular products, serves as a colorful reminder that toys do NOT need to be interactive. The goal is to get children to interact with toys and creative materials. This is where creativity and problem-solving blossoms. A box of crayons or chalk or water-based paints and some blank paper encourage the kind of interactive, open-ended play that helps develop a child’s imagination and fosters inventive learning. Remember that a child’s art education and creativity development begins at home.