‘The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create’ – Barack Obama
Art is a great tool to help with teaching any subject but it can be especially important when teaching younger children English. If you want your children to enjoy learning English then you need it to feel less like a chore and more like a fun activity.
So in this post, we are going to discuss why art is such a great tool for learning and what different activities could be used to combine Art and English. Hopefully, some of these ideas will inspire you to get more creative.
1.Memorable Using art is a much more effective way to help teach information, especially compared to simple recall. By having an image to associate the words with it helps increase the chance of remembering the information. When using art you layering different images together. So there is the visual memory, the memory of the hand moving to draw the images, and semantic memory when thinking about how to create the image.
2. Any ages can get involved. The great thing about art is how adaptable it is and you can tweak the activities to suit any ages. Basic colouring exercises can be used with younger children to help them get excited and learning English whereas for older children you will use more complex games in matching words and looking at sentence structure to describe art.
3. Creative A child needs to be well educated so they can thrive in this world but creativity and imaginations are also important to achieve great success. It is said that art helps children gain the skills they need in the workplace including flexibility, innovation and the ability to solve new problems. So it is important to consider that this is not just an activity in learning English but also helps develop other life skills that will be vital in the future.
4. Visually stimulating Drawing and painting can develop visual-spatial skills especially in younger children, which are very beneficial. It allows for improved hand–eye coordination and strategic thinking to be developed. By stimulating different parts of the brain more connections can be developed.
1.Learning about the body. Join some A4 pieces of paper together or if possible find a large enough piece of paper that is roughly the size of the child you are looking after. Then you can get the child to lay down on the piece of paper and draw around them. If there are two children they can draw around each other which they will enjoy (and maybe don’t do this on the carpet). Once you have your outline you can write different parts of the body down (in English) on a sticky note and get the child to place the notes on the correct part of the body. This can be adapted if you have more children so they can compete and see who can name all of the parts of the body first. Plus drawing around the outline of their figure is a great memento that they can keep to compare how much they have grown in the future.
2. Alphabet. Here you can make 26 cards where each one represents a letter in the English alphabet, then on each card, you can draw on an object, an animal or food that begins with that letter. This is a great way for children to think about the way words are spelt while learning the English alphabet and how it is pronounced. The great thing is that this activity can have a different outcome with each child you do this with. You can have A, apple with one child then A, ant with another one. It is a very simple yet effective idea and allows the child to do a lot of drawing and vocabulary.
3. My Town. This is a great way to help teach the names of places around the town. You can have an A3 piece of paper for each child and they can name their new town. From this, they can then draw the streets and the buildings that are in their town. Then you can go through naming the museum, bank, clothing store, school, and their house all in English. Also depending on the level of the child, this could be extended to learning directions by discussing how you would get from the Cafe to the Hospital for example.
4. Colours, this can be done with younger children. The simplest task you could do would be writing out different colours with that colour pen. This allows for an association to form between the word and the colour, making it easier to remember. If they are a little older they can start drawing things that are that colour, for example yellow banana. Even simple tasks like this will help children, especially young ones, with remembering vocabulary.
These are just a few activities that use art to facilitate the teaching of English. I hope this inspires a lot of creative sessions and makes children excited to learn English. These activities can be easily done at home and they might be good for an English speaking babysitter to do.
For more ideas, activities and advice check out our other blog posts online.