Getting Artsy with My Baby

By Viv Schaffel

Shared by Becki
As a hardcore art enthusiast and former art student, I couldn't wait to have a child to share this passion with. Now, I'm no crazed Tiger Mom, but seeing and making art is a good time, no matter your age. Here are some reasons and benefits to making art a part of your little one’s life.

Newborn - 12 Months. I learned that visiting an art museum with my baby was a cool way to keep my own interest in art and culture alive while stimulating my baby's brain. Bright colors interest babies, says Dr. Kathleen Alfano, Senior Director of the Fisher-Price Play Lab. "Contrasting colors attract a baby's attention and engage their visual memory," she says. Once your baby starts talking, chatting with them and asking them to name and describe the things they see will hone their verbal development.

1 - 2 Years. Once your child can wield a pencil or a paintbrush, or smush some clay, they'll get a huge kick out of learning what can be done with them. Plus, it’s a great way to work on fine motor development. "The act of grabbing and using a paintbrush or crayon helps a child better coordinate their wrists and hands," says Dr. Alfano. To help them along, try taking a Mommy and Me Art class.

2-3 Years. By the time my child was a full-on toddler there was nothing more fun to him than playing with markers and paper, so I made sure the supplies were readily available. It's important for kids this age to develop confidence in their ability to experiment, and learn critical thinking ("what else could that object be?"). Besides, art breeds creativity and sharpens problem-solving skills. "Art is one of the first ways children can freely express themselves," says Dr. Alfano. "The act of learning to put their ideas down on paper in itself is visual problem solving." It's also totally fun!

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Viv Schaffel is a freelance journalist and essayist who writes for a vast array of publications, including CBS Watch!, The New York Times, Working Mother and The New York Post. She writes/performs sketch comedy and is an upstanding member of US Weekly’s Fashion Police, poking fun at red carpet risks.

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Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.