[twitter]Remember the wonderful sight of the colorful rainbow of crayons in a new box, the smell of fresh colored pencils, or the wonder of markers full of bright ink?

Most everybody’s childhood centered on these small pleasures that could take up hours and hours of the day; something as simple as colorful writing utensils could plunge a child into a fantastic world of imagination and discovery that was even more amazing if one has someone to share it with.

How great was it when our parent’s were so proud of our little doodles that they hung them up in the best frames or in the spot of honor on the fridge?

Parents are always grateful when their children quiet down for at least half an hour with some arts and crafts. However, what they do not realize is what they consider some “quiet time” for themselves could actually be turned into a great learning experience for their children.

Parents can turn simple arts and crafts activities into lessons about all kinds of animals, the world of the space or deep blue sea, simple life lessons, lessons about family, and so much more. Consider the little stick figures every child begins drawing: they can turn into a story about how a family has many different members like aunts, uncles, and so on. Then that could turn into a counting game about how many members are there. The possibilities are endless!

Time is precious these days. Everyone is in a rush at one point or another throughout the day. It might be impossible for parents to sit down and draw with their child for hours, no matter how much they would love to!

Fortunately, there are many ways to incorporate arts and crafts into everyday life. Between all the birthdays, holidays, and small celebrations throughout the year the best gifts are the ones that come from the heart and are homemade.

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on the latest fads, parents can help their children weave handmade bracelets of yarn for all the girl family members and fold amazing decorated jet planes for all the boy family members. Presents like that will bring out the child in anyone!

Not only are doodles and scribbles fun and educational, they are developmentally stimulating as well. In a world where electronics are the boss, arts and crafts can bring children together again in little art groups. Working together on large products with other children and friends develops valuable social skills that children cannot learn anywhere else.

More importantly, research shows that neural pathways in the brain are mostly formed in the early years of life and all new experiences create unique brain connections that affect all aspects of further learning.

There are so many artistic things to teach children from basic coloring books and dot-to-dot to paper-mache and pottery painting!

Who can dispute the benefits of more artistic experiences for children. There are a variety of ways to incorporate even a little bit of the art world into a child life. In this hectic world, it is also nice to know that art can be found at the click of a button. Smartphones have numerous apps and programs that can bring art to a child’s fingertips when paper, crayons, scissors, and glue are not practical. On a long car ride, waiting at a doctor’s office, or even to keep a child occupied in the supermarket a smartphone art app is a fantastic way to create some quality exposure to art when it would otherwise have been impossible.dadcamp fire

This guest post was submitted by Kathleen Wilson: “I’m Kathy and I’m on a personal mission to save the world one cute doodle at a time.”

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