Benefits of hassle-free art

Written by
Stephanie Emenecker
on April 8, 2020

Craft time may possibly be our favorite subject! We pull out a few supplies or some crayons or as simple as chalk on the driveway and start creating. It seems like we have been diving into fun projects since my kids could hold a marker. I do get it that sometimes “craft time” can be intimidating though. 

It can be messy. 

It can be a power struggle.

It can feel like a glitter explosion.

It can end in tears.

Especially when you take a browse on Pinterest or the internet and have serious expectations. Everyone seems “good” at it. Guess what?? They aren’t. And that is ok. Actually, even if you think you think you failed miserably you have still done something powerful for your brain. Doesn’t that make it just a little less intimidating? I am here to help and to help you see some reasons why you should stick with some craft time for yourself and your little ones. 

You might even ask, Is the mess worth the time?

Before we dive into some fun craft ideas I want to share a little information about the importance of arts!  Whether it be music, crafts, dance, drawing, molding, writing, etc we have learned that arts have a profound impact on our brain and development.  While artists have always intuitively understood these truths, our scientific understanding of the arts is relatively new. 

The field of neuroaesthetics, situated at the crossroads of brain sciences, technology and the arts, is on a quest to explore their full potential. Dementia patients, Parkinson’s patients, soldiers and veterans who have experienced brain trauma (TBI), depression or PTSD are all on the growing landscape of art therapy studies… in fact, clinical research has already indicated that art therapy can have a meaningful impact on the recovery process from PTSD and TBI. It helps those affected verbally to process and make meaning from their experiences. On a clinical level, it aids healing by reducing symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, and interrupted sleep, and increasing tolerance of hyper-vigilance, pain, and stress. That is amazing! 

In the “The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children” published in the journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics, the authors underscore the critical importance of play in the development of a child’s executive function and social skills —essential markers of school readiness beyond reading, writing and arithmetic. “Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (i.e., the process of learning, rather than the content), which allow us to pursue goals and ignore distractions.”

What this boils down to is you aren’t just keeping your kids entertained, you are providing them an environment to explore their creativity and giving them tools to process their emotions, stress, thoughts, and experiences.  If you can allow yourself to enjoy the process you too will receive its benefits. 

Speaking from experience, giving your children many different options is important.  No need to pigeonhole them into one art form.  For example, I have one child who loves music. He has found sitting down to his instruments to be one of his favorite parts of the day. He is old enough to articulate “the weight of the world is released, and his brain can slow down” from all middle school demands. On the other hand, if I put a pencil in his hand and ask him to draw, he often seizes up, overthinks, stresses.  The opposite is true for my daughter.  She will draw day and night and write stories pages long, but can I get her to practice her saxophone?  Nope.  Substrates can change preference as well.  My son enjoys molding or whittling and 3D creations.  My daughter prefers watercolor or pencil drawings or lettering.

Armed with realizing what a lifelong tool you can provide yourself and family, I urge you to find your substrate and help your children find theirs! This week I am going to be sharing a variety of craft projects in The Hassle Free Family including painting, cutting, and molding. All using things you can find in your kitchen or yard!  Hope to see you there!

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    Stephanie Emenecker
    Written By

    Momma. Stepmom. Believer in good.
    Everyday try to leave people better than how you found them. If it doesn't feel better, rub essential oils on it.

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