7 Benefits of Open-Ended Art for Children

Children are naturally curious and creative, so fostering their abilities and imagination can be quite simple. All it takes is allowing them the time and resources to explore different mediums of expression.

Did you know that most young children score at a level of creative genius between the ages of 4 and 5? Unfortunately the fundamentals of traditional schooling can sometimes stifle creativity — the need for open-ended art in developing children cannot be overstated. 

1. The Importance of Open-Ended Art

An open-ended art curriculum is most likely different from the art classes you remember from your childhood. Rather than being directed step by step to achieve a set result, children are allowed to follow their own process.

The end product isn’t thought of as particularly important; instead, their creative journey is an end unto itself. Children are capable of teaching themselves through play and experimentation. This is particularly important to allow for as a true journey cannot be taught traditionally.

Exploration and experimentation require minimal guidance to flourish. With this rationale in mind, only open-ended art is capable of nurturing lasting confidence in expression and creativity.

2. Fostering Creativity in Children

Open-ended art affords a type of freedom and expression that often goes overlooked. A child properly acquainted with their creativity will develop into a confident and perceptive individual.

In today’s world, so few children are ever allowed to fully realize their creative potential. All it really takes is allowing them the freedom to experiment and learn along the way.

3. Unexpected Benefits of Open-Ended Art

The benefits of letting children experiment with different artistic mediums are far-reaching and can be unexpected. The usual approach of directing children to produce something specific makes a certain sense, but can be restrictive.

Imposing creative barriers such as an expected result isn’t beneficial. Allowing children to navigate their own path strengthens abilities, although hard to quantify, that help them interact with the world. A child who’s allowed to freely explore and experiment will often surprise you.

4. Confidence

A child who becomes confident in one area may find other areas a bit easier. Once they understand that they can reach proficiency by themselves, no task is seen as impossible.

Engaging in art shouldn’t be seen as an avenue to produce something. Instead, it’s a valuable experience in and of itself. Putting brush to paper is an act that requires confidence, and doing so will help fortify it in children allowed to do so.

5. Eye-Hand Coordination

Making sweeping gestures and watching the result left behind teaches something fundamental. Children need to learn how to use their bodies, and the best way is through doing. Drawing a steady line seems a simple thing to us as adults, but only because we’ve had sufficient experience.

We interact with the world mostly with our hands. Without a strongly developed sense of eye-hand coordination, precision isn’t possible. Open-ended art strengthens many fundamental abilities without needing to underline the lesson.

6. Problem-Solving

While experimenting, children may have a certain goal in mind. This means a prolonged attention span as well as utilizing organizational and sequencing skills.

To achieve whatever they’re hoping for, they’ll learn trial and error. Instead of being told exactly what to do by an adult, it’s rewarding to find the answer for themselves. It might not come immediately, but with a little patience, they’ll find a way.

7. Creative Thinking and Making Art

The best way to encourage creativity is to allow children to think for themselves. Art is a fantastic way to let their imagination run wild. Colors, shapes and an evolving understanding of all artistic medium promotes creative thought like nothing else.

Watching children in an open-ended art setting is also very rewarding as parents and educators. You can observe how their process develops over time, and gain a more intimate understanding of their personality, traits and abilities.

Open-Ended Art for an Open-Ended Life

Life is unpredictable and there’s no way to be there for your child every step of the way. Eventually, they’ll fly the nest and make their way into the world alone. Equipping children with the ability to think outside of the box will help them throughout their lives. There’s no telling what the future holds, but they’ll be able to meet it head-on with a creative mind!

With creativity and confidence engrained from an early age, children are well-prepared for everything to come. And when they have children of their own, you can bet they’ll pass on the joys of free creative exploration!

If you have any questions about open-ended art, feel free to contact us here! We’d love to hear from you.

We strive to create fun and informative content that will help young children learn and grow. However, it's important to keep in mind that all activities should be performed under the supervision of an adult. The Adventurous Child website is intended to serve as a reference and guidance for educational activities, and it is ultimately the responsibility of the parent, guardian, and/or educator to determine the appropriateness of the activity for their child’s age and maturity level. Thank you for your understanding and support!