‘A’ is for Arts

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This is the fourth in a five-part series about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).

With education becoming increasingly competitive, it has become a priority for parents to find the best means of learning for their kids. One way is to incorporate the concepts of STEAM in the lives of the little ones.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. All five STEAM concepts are equally important when it comes to the all-round development of children. Yet, the arts often get overlooked in the pursuit of the other pillars. They contribute to a young child’s creativity and problem solving ability. Thus, it is important to introduce your child to the arts from an early age. Here are five activities that you can do with your young ones to inculcate a love for the arts.

1. Become explorers in your city
A visit to a museum is a great way for kids to learn about topics such as history, culture, costumes and traditions. In a city like Singapore, this is especially true since there are several fascinating and unique museums here. It is a great way to learn about and appreciate the heritage of a place in a fun way.

Moreover, entry to the eight main museums is free for Singapore citizens and permanent residents, so you don’t even have to spend anything. Just enjoy teaching your kids how to appreciate their history and culture on a rainy weekend afternoon!

2. Channel your inner Elvis Presley
Singing is known to have several benefits, from improving mental alertness to boosting one’s confidence. In fact, experts believe it can also help children improve their vocabulary. Given that most children love music, a family singing session can be beneficial to the adults and young ones alike.

Whether it is a nursery rhyme learnt in pre-school or the latest Taylor Swift single, practise your vocal talent at a family-friendly music school. Alternatively, simply turn to karaoke versions of popular songs on YouTube for an afternoon of family fun. While you’re at it, break out some dance moves. After all, dancing helps improve concentration too!

3. Unleash the artist within
Instead of risking your young Van Gogh using the walls of your home as his canvas, why not join a fun drawing class together? By drawing with your little ones, you can understand how they see the world around them as they sketch their perceptions. Drawing also exercises their motor skills, while allowing them to express their creativity.

If a class is not your style, simply give the whole family blank sheets of paper and ask them to create magic with them at home.

4. Get hands-on
In the digital age, most of us have forgotten how to use our hands to do simple things like writing or drawing. So get back to basics with your young kids and join a class that allows you to use your hands to create something, like pottery. Besides honing your concentration skills (if you don’t watch closely your pot might well turn into a pan!), it will also allow you and the children to bond over clay.

Alternatively, lay some newspapers on the floor at home and bring out the playdough for some moulding fun.

5. Be a film critic
While Disney’s animated classics have universal appeal, make an effort to watch other types of age-appropriate films with your young ones as well. Foreign films will expose them to a new language, possibly instilling a love for them. Watching films starring people from different cultures, values and habits will also make them aware of a world different from their own, and drive home the importance of acceptance.

If you prefer to stick to familiar terrain, these films can impart values such as courage and friendship in your kindergarten goer. They can also teach the more mature concepts of trust and teamwork to your primary school child.

Whether it’s a foreign or Hollywood film, viewed either at a theatre or an open air cinema screen or on your flat screen TV at home, make it a point to discuss the film afterwards. Ask your kids what they liked or disliked about it and why, and bring up issues in the film to develop your child’s understanding of the world.

These activities will teach your children valuable skills that will have an impact on their overall development. What’s more, they are so enjoyable that your munchkins probably won’t even realise they are learning in the process!

 

Learn more about STEAM and how to integrate it in your child’s life! Join us at Happy Sparks on 23 and 24 June 2018 from 10am to 8pm at Our Tampines Hub. Click here for the programme lineup.

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