Imagine your family are trekking through the Australian bush and you spot a secret cave hidden amongst the shrubs. As you climb inside, the entrance collapses and you are trapped with an endless supply of running water from an underground natural spring and Tim Tams from… I have no idea where. With no electronic gadgets or TV to keep the kids entertained and after fighting for a few hours over Tim Tams they will probably pick up the closest thing to a drawing implement and start drawing on the walls. This will trigger right and left areas of the brain simultaneously as their imagination begins to spill out onto the cave walls. The stress of being trapped in an underground cave (they just happened to carry a 100 LED lamp that uses a recharging station powered by darkness) will ease.
An imaginative story would unfold on the walls of that cave; a story filled with anger and fear as the kids try to face the ordeal of being trapped with a diminishing supply of Tim Tams. This is one of the reasons that drawing is such an important activity for children – it is one of the best ways for them to communicate. Drawing provides a window to their imagination and to their emotions. How they feel about something or someone is often expressed through the art they produce.
Every time that crayon hits the paper (or cave wall), almost all cognitive processes are being covered. The imagination is engaging in creative problem solving and spatial perception as well as lateral thinking; all of which will assist with your child’s transition into school life. Drawing enhances kids visual perception by distinguishing between different tones and colours, patterns and depth. Drawing is a centering activity that improves concentration. It is simply a pleasurable, quiet chance to focus on detail; a relaxing change to the constant distraction our kids are experiencing today. Coordination also improves as sketching exercises a child’s essential fine motor skills. Most important of all, the sense of achievement kids feel after completing a piece of art, boosts their self confidence.
Encourage your kids to draw. It is such a rewarding experience for them but it is also rewarding for parents. It is a great chance for you to physically bond with your child. Don’t worry if you can’t draw; just enjoy the chance to express thoughts through images and pictures. So next time you head off into the outback, be sure to pack loads of paper, crayons and Tim Tams just in case you stumble into the wrong cave.