The Artful Dance of Growing Up


“Before a child speaks, it sings. Before they write, they paint. As soon as they stand, they dance. Art is the basis of human expression.” – Phylicia Rashad


The Artful Dance of Growing UpIn childhood development, play is not merely a break from learning; it is the stage where the most profound learning occurs. By singing, painting, and dancing, children express their understanding of the world and their place within it. It’s no surprise that play comes naturally to us! Before we learn anything else, we are able to play. Children come up with imaginary friends and play games of make-believe instinctively.


Having creative outlets to express themselves and their imaginations is good for the mental health of children. Unfortunately, art and music education is facing a challenging era, with significant funding cuts across the world. In the US, the presence of arts education in public schools has seen a marked decline since the early 2000s, while the UK has contemplated halving arts higher education funding in recent years. In England, we face a ‘creativity crisis’, with a significant drop in the number of creative arts students and teachers over the past decade. (1)


A survey by the Association of School and College Leaders revealed that 72% of leaders reported cutting creative subjects from their curriculum. These reductions not only diminish the richness of cultural education but also overlook the arts’ contribution to cognitive development and student engagement. (2)


As the arts face undervaluation, the importance of play, imagination, and creativity in nurturing human potential cannot be overstated. Yet, the increasing demands on children’s schedules leave little room for such essential activities. It’s a stark reminder that sidelining the arts risks losing the creativity that should define our youth and shape our future.


Imagine a world where learning isn’t just sitting and listening, but singing at the top of your lungs, painting with fingers, engaging with stories, and dancing like nobody’s watching.


The Joy of Playful Learning

The Artful Dance of Growing UpArt and stories provide a canvas for children to express their inner worlds. When a child grips a paintbrush, they are not just splashing colours on a paper; they are learning to control their movements, recognize patterns and express emotions. Similarly, when they lose themselves in a story, they are not just following a narrative; they are walking in someone else’s shoes, developing empathy, and expanding their understanding of different ways to live and be.


When kids play, they’re not just having fun—they’re becoming mighty problem-solvers and emotional ninjas. They’re learning the art of being human, and they’re masterpieces in progress!


Crafting Time for Creativity

In our structured world, it is crucial to carve out time and create spaces to encourage children to engage in art and storytelling. We are all responsible for helping to raise the next generation, and we must recognize that artistic outlets are not just ‘extracurriculars’ – they allow kids to express themselves and develop into fully rounded human beings.


When we created Storytime, making reading fun was – and continues to be – our mission. We aim to engage readers our readers by helping them enjoy the reading experience. That way, they can learn and absorb ideas without even noticing! While ‘Edutainment’ might be a buzzword right now, the idea behind it has merit: we do learn better when we are having fun!


The Artful Dance of Growing UpOur busy world moves so fast, but we should make time to press pause and make room for magic. Let’s build sandcastles in the living room and read tales that transport us to other worlds. Art and play is not just fun—it provides a fertile space in which children can grow and explore.


Engagement in art and stories does more than just encouraging creativity. It fosters wellbeing and mental resilience, equipping children with the tools to face life’s challenges. Through play, they learn to problem-solve, to handle emotions, and to navigate social dynamics. These are the skills that allow individuals to flourish, to adapt, and to find joy even in adversity, and they will be essential in later life.


Keeping the Spark Alive

Let’s not forget the power of play. It’s the secret ingredient in the recipe for innovation and happiness. So, when was the last time you played? As we champion the cause of play in childhood, let’s also sneak it into our grown-up lives. Because believe it or not, playing might just be the most grown-up thing we can do. And how to keep the play alive as an adult? Ah, that’s a tale for another day.


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