What Are the Benefits of Painting for Children?

By Shelley Frost
Close-up of child painting on paper
Close-up of child painting on paper

Dipping a brush into colorful paint begins your child's journey toward a finished masterpiece, but the process is about more than the resulting picture. As she moves her paintbrush across the canvas, your child develops cognitively, emotionally and physically. Before you hesitate to let your child get messy with paint, consider what she'll gain by being creative with a paint brush.

Brain Development

Painting is a creative, emotion-based activity associated with the right side of the brain, but the activity also supports cognitive development. Art activities help develop neural connections that prepare the brain for learning, according to the American Association of School Administrators. Creating a painting encourages thought into the choice of color, patterns and designs. Your child develops his brain by capturing objects in a painted representation and exploring complex techniques as he develops his skills. This gives him a continued challenge as he tries different painting activities.

Confidence in Success

Academic areas often require your child to find the correct answer. For example, a math problem has a specific numerical answer and reading requires your child to recognize and say the exact word. Painting deviates from this as it does not involve a right and wrong aspect. Your child is able to create a work of art that appeals to her, deciding how to develop the painting without strict rules or processes. This allows her to explore and test different techniques in a safe format without the fear of failure. Creating the work of art can create a sense of confidence both in the process and the finished product. As your child learns to paint and improves her technique, she gains greater confidence in her developed skills.

Emotional Expression

Painting gives your child a way to express himself emotionally. If he feels stressed about a situation, his painting might hint at those feelings. Putting those emotions into a painting can sometimes feel easier than talking about them. The paintings offer a glimpse into your child's brain, allowing you to help him through difficult situations or emotions. Your child might also feel a sense of relief because he is able to get out those negative emotions. The act of painting is relaxing for some children, as the repetitive motions of pulling the brush across the canvas are often soothing.

Sparked Creativity

Painting engages creativity in a hands-on way. Creating art with a paintbrush gives your child a chance to express her personal style; she becomes more in tune with herself and her interests. Developing creativity encourages your child to think about other situations in different ways. If she thinks creatively, she may find a different way to solve a problem with her friends or think about a math problem at school, for example. Creativity through painting may inspire her to come up with new ideas in other areas.

About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.