The short answer to this question is Yes! Combining art activities with teaching helps strengthen children's memory and concentration. Memory and concentration skills are essential as children are learning to read and write. In this way, supporting these skills through art is a good way to make teaching fun and provide the freedom for children to express themselves creatively. Art also encourages younger children to exercise their motor skills as they are practicing the use of crayons, brushes, and how to use colored pencils. Thus, art activities can be turned into pre-writing practices.
To include art activities you can:
- Decorate the letters of the Alphabet
- Prepare different materials such as: glitter, watercolors, pipe cleaners, pompoms, pasta, natural materials (leaves, flowers, tree branches, stones). Then, make cards with different letters of the alphabet and let your child or student decorate the outline of the letter with the different materials. For natural materials you can go on an excursion with the children in search of them and turn the excursion into another way of learning about art in nature.
- Painting with the index finger, the use of a cotton swab or cotton ball
- The reason art is so much fun is because of the freedom it allows to be able to express oneself by using different art mediums and techniques. With this in mind, you can teach your child or students different painting techniques. To paint with your index finger you just need to prepare different paints and have napkins ready to clean if necessary. Using the cotton swab technique is quite easy and super fun! You will need cotton swabs, and teach the children that they should only make dots using the cotton swab to make their painting. Finally, painting with cotton is an easy and fun activity to exchange a brush with another tool, in this case cotton, and let the children paint to their creative liking.
- Use the books Nacho Aprende, Lee y Colorea and the series of Cometa Creativa
- These books have an art focus along with prewriting skills and initial literacy. For example, the book Nacho Aprende, Lee y Colorea has more than 50 pages filled with pictures to color. The special thing about this book is that in addition to being a coloring book, it also includes writing exercises associated with the blank drawings. The Cometa Creativa series also has quite a few activities with the focus on art and creative motor activities. As well as: picture traces where children can use wool and knit, craft ideas, pictures to cut out and much more.
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Written by: Valeria Flores. University of California Los Angeles. BA. Spanish and Linguistics. Bilingual Teacher.