Creative play is an important part of childhood development
Creative play is a really important part of childhood development. Whether it’s drama, music, dance or visual art, these activities help young children express themselves.
Children might not always be able to explain their feelings but may find it easier to do this with paint, colour, mime or singing.
As well as communication, creative play helps children develop their imagination, problem-solving, thinking and motor skills.
Learning through drama
School-age children are big enough to dress up in costumes and play with props to act out a story. Pretending to be someone else helps children see things from another point of view.
“Drama can also help children who might have difficulty with generating ideas, or expanding on stories,” said Sydney Local Health District Occupational Therapist Polly Barendrecht
“Drama helps children develop their creativity, which is an important skill for primary school.”
Learning through music
Music can help children tell stories and it can lift their mood, Polly said.
Younger children will enjoy using everyday household objects to make musical instruments like rice in a sealed plastic container as a maraca or rubber bands on a tissue box to make a guitar. Older children will be able to start learning musical symbols and notes to play an instrument.
Learning through visual art
“Doing art is a great way for children to develop their fine motor skills, including drawing, colouring, cutting and pasting,” Polly said.
Using a range of objects like paint brushes, chalk, small pieces of paper, textas and things of different sizes helps children to develop eye hand coordination, and also the strength and coordination of the small muscles in their hand, which also helps with pencil grip and other skills such as tying shoelaces or doing up buttons.
Learning through dance
“Dance lessons are very useful for kids who have difficulty with balance, coordination and movement,” Polly said
“Lessons can be useful as they are graded from easy to more difficult, combine fast and slow movements and provide lots of opportunity for movement”.
The New South Wales Government has recently launched a voucher to help cover the cost of enrolment in creative and cultural learning activities.
The Creative Kids vouchers provide $100 for every school-age child per year.
For more information, or to claim a voucher visit www.service.nsw.gov.au/creative-kids/parents