This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on the benefits of arts & crafts.

For the final installment of this series, let’s talk about the social-emotional benefits:

In addition to self-regulation, or how you child responds to and manages the feelings they have while creating, which was discussed in Part 2 on cognitive benefits, arts & crafts also encourage the development of executive functions as a whole. Executive functions refer skills that include controlling one’s emotions and impulses as well as skills such as patience, planning, focus, organization, and multitasking. In sum, executive functions are the skills that allow kids to manage their thoughts, actions, and emotions to accomplish a goal.

Arts & crafts encourage self-expression – the sharing of one’s thoughts, ideas, and emotions – as well as symbolic communication – the communication of thoughts or feelings through symbols such as colors, images, or even written words. These activities allow your child to flex their creative muscles, which can help them understand and process new ideas.

Finally, when we talk about artistic activities, we often talk about process versus product, or, in other words, the journey versus the destination. The process encourages your child to express themself and provides a time for them to bond with friends and develop social skills. The product, your child’s completed art or craft, may give them a feeling of accomplishment right away and self-improvement as they use these same skills over time, leading to increased confidence and self-esteem.

So, pop on the plastic table cover, crack open the crayon box, try to relax about the ensuing mess, and have fun with your child! Check out the WIND Study’s seasonal newsletters to learn about fun craft ideas to try!