5 reasons why you should take your children to an art fair

Picture: Wikimedia
Picture: Wikimedia
Promoted by Edinburgh Art Fair

Children are naturally creative and love any opportunity to paint, scribble, draw, cut and stick - even if that’s on surfaces you would prefer they steered well clear from.

But even if your favourite couch or kitchen wall holds the remnants of an experimental art installation, your little rascal’s interest in making art should be nurtured.

According to the organisers of Scotland’s longest-running art fair, encouraging children to develop their artistic impulses does far more than save your interiors, it can have long-lasting benefits, helping them to develop mentally, emotionally and socially.

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Edinburgh Art Fair organiser Mike Smith said: “Viewing art can be an accessible method of understanding science, other cultures, politics and school subjects.

"Taking part in art gives children a voice. Sometimes it's easier to communicate through art than talking or writing, removing them from more conventionally 'school-based' modes of communication.

"Learning to think in a creative way from a young age comes in handy when you are older and can help with jobs, projects and problem solving."

The fair, held at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, is family friendly and hosts workshops, talks, arts classes for children as well as a free creche that welcomes children up to pre-teens. For the first time this year, a sensory experience designed to spark creativity in little ones has been added to the already impressive schedule.

Colin Bradie, interim head of creative learning at Creative Scotland added: “Engagement with the arts is crucial to the imagination, self-expression and creativity of children and young people. Taking part in creative activities has the power to transform lives, improving health and wellbeing, and reducing social isolation, where that exists. Creative experiences can help build confidence, skills, and employability, whilst also nurturing the next generation of Scotland’s creative talent.”

Inviting children to not only make art, but to engage with different forms, allows their imagination to flourish and their confidence to be bolstered. With over 60 exhibitors showcasing paintings, ceramics, photography and glassware, the Edinburgh Art Fair, now the largest of its kind outside of London, is the perfect place to let the wee ones roam and fire up their art-appreciation skills and here are five reasons why:

1. Allowing your children to express themselves freely can help instil self-confidence at crucial ages of development - regardless of their skills. For a child, believing they can draw or paint and enjoying the process is far more important than technical mastery. The process is more rewarding than the outcome.

2. Having the skills to think creatively extends into every aspect of life, from childhood into adulthood. Working on their own art or appreciating a piece that someone else has created can instil problem solving skills, convey the importance of effort and reward, and give them the confidence and freedom to make their own choices.

3. Viewing art, and discussing it openly, will allow critical thinking to be fostered. A piece of art is a multi-layered object on which infinite interpretations can be overlaid. Allowing a child's imagination to run wild and dream up stories attached to whatever they are observing, regardless of if they like it or not, can help them widen their thinking, both critically and analytically.

4. Giving children the opportunity to be creative when they are small can help them connect different parts of their brains, helping them to form well-rounded personalities and developing resilience. Building vital motor skills helps them to access these pathways when they come to learn new skills.

5. Appreciating art can be a bonding experience, adults can always benefit from seeing the world through the eyes of children whose imaginations are expressive and uninhibited. Learning from and appreciating art together can show your children that they are listened to and that their opinions matter.

Edinburgh Art Fair is sponsored by BTO Solicitors and is held at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, 23 - 25th November. For more information go to www.artedinburgh.com