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Nurturing Your Little Michelangelo Could Benefit Them for Years to Come

By Jessa McClure
By Jessa McClure

Cute little boy painting in his album"Can we paint today, Mommy?" While the idea of colored water spilling into the grooves of our dining table and brush strokes ending up everywhere but paper makes me want to run screaming from the room, I know that letting my daughter express herself through art is a good thing.

In fact, it might actually make her smarter. According to a report by the National Assembly of State Art Agencies, children who had several years of art education score higher on their SATs than those who have little or no exposure to the arts.

Involvement with art education can also help those who are struggling to learn. Experts at the 2009 Learning, Arts, and the Brain Summit shared a study that found that children enrolled in art education classes were better able to pay attention, had more motivation toward their schoolwork and remembered more of the curriculum being taught.

Unfortunately, many art programs in schools are being eliminated due to budget cuts. Here are some ways to integrate art into your child's life if they aren't being exposed to it during the school day.

1. Create something with your child
Get out the paints, the crayons, the modeling clay, or some pipe cleaners and create something new. Your child will not only be delighted that you are engaging them in this way, but they will love that you aren't afraid to get messy with them. You can also use this time to get to know them better.

Don't be afraid to explore different art mediums like photography, and help your child make a collage to decorate their room or give as a gift.

2. Visit museums
Introduce your child to art created by famous artists throughout history by visiting a museum. Find your favorite pieces and do some research. Find out when and where the artist lived and how they created their artwork. You might even try recreating their style of work with materials you have around the house.

This third grade class in Kansas painted like Michelangelo by creating artwork while lying on their backs—much like the artist did when he was painting the Sistine Chapel.

3. Sign them up for art classes
If after exploring the world of art with your child, they begin to take an interest in the subject, you might want to consider enrolling them in an art class. This will allow them to get some formal training in the art medium of their choice and meet other kids who share their passion.

Click here for some art programs and studios in your area.

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