Pablo Picasso once said,
“Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Why is it that almost all little children know they are incredible artists? Seriously. Go into a room of preschoolers scribbling away and tell one how beautiful his coloring is. Then watch him light up, smile, and say, “I know!”
But somewhere along the way we begin comparing ourselves to others. We start to think that our drawing doesn’t look as good as theirs. We feel like we don’t measure up. We’re not good enough. We’re not artistic. We’re not creative.
Yet, creativity is an innate quality in all of us.
As author, Julia Cameron, wrote,
“Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.”
We are creative beings created by and in the image of the Ultimate Creator. We have a portion of His “divine spark” within us. But sadly, too many of us have buried that spark so deep we’ve forgotten the pure joy and excellent benefits of creating on a regular basis.
If you’re a mom who’s let your sewing time, your sketchbook/nature journal, or your piano-playing time go the way of the dodo because “life” has gotten in the way, then I encourage you to read this post I wrote awhile back on my blog, Flourish.
But today, I want to talk about 10 benefits that art and creativity bring to our older kids and teens:
Benefits for Kids & Teens Who Create
1. Absolute joy – There is an undeniable sense of joy and pleasure that comes from creating something with one’s own hands. Whether or not the piece turns out as your kid or teen hoped it would, there is still enjoyment in the process. The more they practice, the better they’ll get, and the more pleasurable art will become.
2. Self-confidence – As your kids/teens continue to create, and as you (and others) regularly encourage them and praise their efforts, they will develop a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment which will, in turn, give them confidence and self-assurance in other areas of life.
3. An outlet for expression – Making art or using their creative juices in other ways allows kids/teens to express feelings and emotions that lie buried deep within in a way that they can’t always express verbally. Their creations are extensions of themselves. And as they are allowed to continue their creative journey, they can continually give voice to those inner workings which can be quite liberating.
4. Self-awareness – Experimenting with art and other areas of creativity allow kids/teens to discover which processes or techniques they like and don’t like, which habits and practices work well (or not at all) for them, what motivates and incentivizes them, what brings them pleasure or discourages them, and so forth. The creative journey is a continual one of self-awareness and self-discovery.
5. Cultural awareness – The society we live in today is amazingly diverse. Culture is all around, and makes a fabulous subject matter for art, while creating an opportunity for kids and teens to learn about and hopefully understand people different from themselves.
6. Innovation & resourcefulness – By allowing our kids/teens to express themselves through their own creativity and giving them the freedom to take risks, they develop a sense of innovation and resourcefulness that they can carry throughout their adult lives. They work hard, finally bringing that piece of art to fruition. They overcame the challenges, the discouragement, and the struggles by sheer ingenuity.
7. Improved academic performance – There have been plenty of studies showing a correlation between creating art and improved academic performance in the areas of math, science, and language arts. Art helps train students to think in new and different ways.
8. A way to decompress – We all know that kids and teens can get just as stressed as we adults do. A heavy school schedule, extracurricular activities, youth group, co-op – the list goes on and on of ways they can become overloaded and majorly stressed out. The act of creating allows them to pull away from the spinning world and rest their minds while their hands are busy. They can be “in the moment” or experience a sense of timelessness as they create and relax.
9. Sense of freedom – Doing something one enjoys is a liberating feeling. As your kids/teens continue to find pleasure and fulfillment in their art, it will be as if a world of opportunities has opened to them. They will feel free to continue exploring, continue pushing themselves, continue growing in their abilities as they head into adulthood.
10. A possible career path or life’s calling – Does your kid or teen have an unusual aptitude for art or another creative area? Is it an all-consuming passion for him or her? Perhaps it’s part of their life purpose. Do all you can to help them explore the things that bring them joy and delight. Help them develop their gifts, talents and abilities. Help them find and explore their creative passions. In doing so, you will give them a head start in finding their God-given purpose!
Want a FUN Way to Encourage Your Kid or Teen to Create?
Coming in the Fall of 2016, the Masterpiece Society will offer a weekly Art Challenge to encourage your older kids and teens to create for the simple pleasure of creating. Click here to read more about it. Then sign up below to receive the weekly art prompt (Challenge will begin September 2nd.):
Alisha Gratehouse is an artist, art instructor, minister’s wife, and homeschooling mom of three. Her days are filled with creating, painting, writing, drinking lots of tea, laughing with (and at) her family, and spontaneously bursting forth into song. Alisha is the author of several books including, A Life That Flourishes.