It’s no secret these days that kids these days are engaged in a lot of extracurricular activities. As parents we want to provide the best opportunities for our children and encourage their development.
However, there is often a greater focus on sport and physical activity than other more creative pursuits. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012) show that only 35% of children aged 5-14 participated in drama, dance, singing or music outside school hours. That is compared to 60% of children engaged in organised sport outside of school.
Interestingly, research shows that the performing arts – drama, music, art, dance – have a wide range of benefits for a child’s wellbeing and development.
Here are 5 reasons why performing arts are so great for kids:
- Provides an outlet for self-expression – Creative pursuits give children an opportunity to express emotions in a safe and controlled way. Whether it be through drawing, dancing or playing a part in a play, kids are given a different outlet through which to explore and master their emotions.
- Builds confidence and self-esteem – Mastering new skills, performing in front of an audience, developing new friendships all help bolster your child’s confidence and self-esteem. This can have a flow on effect to reducing anxiety and depression in kids.
- Develops social skills – Most creative activities require working as a team or some collaboration. This expands children’s skills such as communication, conflict resolution, negotiation and empathy. Through activities such as drama, kids can learn to see things from different perspectives and understand the motivations, feelings and opinions of others.
- Improves academic performance – There is a lot of research around the positive impact arts can have on academic ability. Creative arts use different parts of the brain which strengthens neural pathways. Reading and playing music has been shown to improve mathematical ability while drama scripts can improve literacy, comprehension and language development. There are also positive links with critical thinking, memory, motivation and attention, which can help in all aspects of a child’s learning.
- Provides physical activity – The physical benefits of dance may be obvious, however other creative arts also involve physical elements. Areas that can be developed include balance, flexibility, coordination, motor skills and muscle control. For example, in drama, actors learn how to use their body for expression and playing a musical instrument involves posture, motor skills and core strength.
As participating in more creative activities can positively impact behaviour, self-worth, levels of knowledge and physical activity, it is definitely worth engaging your child in the performing arts.