Disclaimer: Devoted Grandma is reader-supported. If you purchase anything through my site, I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you). Thank you.
Today, I’ve discovered some interesting research that I believe is worth sharing with all of you. It’s about a simple 20-minute daily practice that can help our grandchildren become better problem solvers.
As we all know, there are plenty of daily tasks that our little ones might not find appealing, such as eating vegetables, doing homework, or brushing their teeth. However, these habits are necessary for them to grow into well-adjusted adults.
So, what does the research say?
Interestingly, there’s another activity that deserves more attention when it comes to child development: engaging with and creating art.
Susan Magsamen, a child development expert, emphasizes that “children who are using the arts are better problem solvers.”
Magsamen further explains, “They are building stronger prefrontal cortex skills like executive function and memory. They are able to regulate their emotions better.” She also adds, “We think it starts to regulate the nervous system in a way that changes how we feel.”
The best part is that it only takes 20 minutes of artistic activities every day to see long-term effects. Whether they’re creating or admiring art, these experiences can help regulate their nervous systems and change how they feel.
What if my grandchild isn’t good at art?
Not to worry! The beauty of engaging with art is that it doesn’t depend on skill level. Ivy Ross, co-author of “Your Brain on Art,” explains that we’re all wired to express ourselves, and art is an incredible medium for doing so.
Ross shares a personal anecdote that highlights the importance of art in children’s lives: “When my son was young, I noticed he was particularly drawn to painting and sketching. I encouraged him to explore his talents, and as a result, he developed a strong sense of self-expression and a passion for the arts that remains with him to this day.”
So, what do you do exactly?
Guess what? Artistic engagement doesn’t have to be costly or complicated! In fact, it can be as simple as stepping outside and looking up at the clouds. Encourage your grandkids to find shapes and pictures in the clouds, a delightful activity known as pareidolia. Children love novelty and surprise, making it essential to find ways to spark their curiosity.
Magsamen suggests, “Where are places you can take kids where there is awe, and surprise, and wonder? Once you’ve got that and you see their energy raise, then you can move them toward activities that are gonna continue to build on that.”
Don’t forget about the power of other art forms, too. Storytelling, music, dance, and even creative writing can all contribute to a well-rounded artistic experience. Our grandchildren can benefit from a “well-balanced diet” of various art forms, so don’t hesitate to explore different options with them.
Here are some more examples of engaging activities you can do with your grandchildren:
- Visit a local museum or art gallery.
- Create a DIY puppet show using household items.
- Listen to different genres of music and dance together.
- Paint or draw still life scenes or landscapes in your backyard.
- Write a story together and take turns adding to the plot.
By connecting with our grandchildren through the wonder of art, we can not only bond with them but also nurture their problem-solving skills. So, let’s encourage their creativity and watch them grow into capable, well-rounded individuals!
Ivy Ross also emphasizes the importance of balance, stating, “There’s taking in storytelling and music, then there is making with your hands and feeling. It’s almost this diet you want for your child. This well-balanced diet.”
So, remember, ladies, the key is to expose our grandchildren to a variety of artistic experiences and to engage with them in a way that fosters their curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving abilities. As grandmothers, we have a unique opportunity to influence their development and help them become the best versions of themselves. And, of course, it gives us a chance to create precious memories with our beloved grandkids that will last a lifetime.
Let’s come together and embrace the joy of art, inspiring our grandchildren to grow, learn, and thrive. After all, as Susan Magsamen so aptly puts it, “Providing that time and space allows you to figure out what you like and don’t like and what you think is beautiful.” And who wouldn’t want to share that experience with their little ones?