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Help children discover the fun of creating art

SALISBURY — Is art just fun and games for children to participate in? Look further and you will discover that children are actually learning a great deal when they do art activities.
Art provides some of the building blocks of child development. The best part about art is that children have so much fun creating that they don’t even realize that they are learning.
Art projects provide plenty of opportunity for children to work on their fine motor skills. They will learn how to use a pencil to write carefully, use crayons to draw, and hold a paintbrush to make the desired marks. They may use scissors to cut paper into definite shapes and squeeze glue from a bottle in a controlled manner. These tasks help a child learn to control materials and are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children.
Art is a way for children to practice their communication skills and a great way for children to express themselves. A child might document an actual experience by drawing a picture of a fun day at the zoo. He may emit feelings of joy or sadness by the choice of colors and types of lines he creates. He can share an emotional experience by painting a portrait to reflect the loss of a pet.
In some cases art is the presentation of an expression, but it may also be that the physical process of creating is the expression. Art allows a child to communicate feelings he might not be able to express verbally.
Art education strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills when children have the freedom to engage in projects without having to follow specific directions. Instead, they can focus on the discovery of “how” and “why” when given the free will to make choices and work through challenges.
An example of a challenge might be a child who made the color brown when he intended to make the color orange. He now has to think about what he did and make the appropriate corrections. Another example is a child who finds out that the glue he is using isn’t holding down his project and has to decide what to try instead. Art allows children to make their own assessments and to discover that a problem may not have just one answer.
Encourage your child to get creative and use his imagination. Art helps to develop a child’s creativity by giving him or her the freedom to think independently, experiment and analyze. Get out the art supplies and let them explore so that their creativity has a chance to blossom.
You may want to check out Rowan Public Library’s website to find out dates and times for free art classes offered to children of all ages. While you are at the library, feel free to browse the art section in the children’s department, where you will discover some fun and informational books that talk about famous artists, types of art and how the history of art has evolved.
Here are some of the great titles you may want to look at with your child:
“A Book About Color: A Clear and Simple Guide for Young Artists” by Mark Gonyea;
“Children’s Book of Art” by Dorling Kindersley Ltd.;
“Diego Rivera: An Artist For the People” by Susan Goldman Rubin;
“Get Into Art People: Discover Great Art and Create Your Own” by Susie Brooks;
“Henri’s Scissors” by Jeanette Winter;
“A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin” by Jen Bryant.
Visit Rowan Public Library: www.rowanpubliclibrary.org
Outdoor exploration workshop: South, April 28, 5:45-7:15 p.m. Learn about planning day trips, local and regional parks and trails, travel and safety tips and more. All ages welcome, but anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. There will be door prizes. Participants who attend four out of five workshops will be entered to win grand prize. No charge to participate, but registration is required. Visit the website or call 704-216-7734 to register or for more information.
Book Bites Club: South (only), April 29, 6:30 p.m., “Gone Girl,” by Gillian Flynn. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.
Displays for April: headquarters, 411 Community Read; South, student art by Carson High School; East, Rockwell Civitans.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

Children’s Storytime: Weekly Story Time through May 2. For more information call 704-216-8234.
Toddler Time (18- to 35-month olds) — 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays, headquarters; 11 a.m. Mondays, East.
Baby Time (6- to 23-month olds) — 10 a.m. Wednesdays, headquarters; 10 a.m. Mondays, East.
Preschool Time (3- to 5-year-olds) — 10:30 a.m. Thursdays, headquarters; 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, South; 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Thursdays, East.
Noodlehead (4- to 8-year-olds) — 4 p.m. Thursdays, headquarters; 4 p.m. Mondays, South.
Tiny Tumblers (6- to 35-month-olds) — Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m., South.
Children’s art programs: Learn different art techniques and start a new art project; runs weekly during storytime. Art in the Afternoon, headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; Art Party, South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.; Art with Char, East, Thursdays, 4 p.m.

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