Creativity is a valuable resource for everyone — not just artists. At Sparketh, we believe that an artistic education is an absolutely critical part of childhood and teen development and that creativity is vital for adults, too! Sadly, artistic encouragement is something that many children don’t receive. Art may even be something that many kids are taught to “grow out of” as they get older. The truth is that creativity is becoming more important than ever before for the upcoming generation.
In a society that’s constantly changing – and with new jobs in rapid development – the ability to innovate, explore and create will be required of all of the future’s leaders. In addition to setting the youngest generation up for career success, regular creative practice also develops greater confidence and self-esteem in young people.
Creativity Builds Confidence
Creativity – and specifically art- has been shown to have many positive impacts on developing thoughts and emotions (read about some of them here!) Among other things, regularly practicing art can directly impact a child’s confidence and self-esteem. This has been observed by teachers and parents for years, and contemporary research also supports it to be true! If you’re a research person like I am, check out this 2019 study by Hei Wan Mak and Daisy Fancourt of University College London (and its supporting resources!)
More into conclusions? The research indicates that when a child consistently engages in creative activities – particularly with his or her parents- this has a direct, positive relationship with a child’s self-esteem. This relationship has nothing to do with the child’s artistic ability. It just has to do with regular practice!
The relationship between creativity and confidence is multi-faceted. However, there are several specific things that happen in a child’s life when he or she creates art on a regular basis, many of which contribute to a greater sense of confidence and self-esteem! Here are just 5 of the ways that creating art builds confidence in kids and teens.
1. Creating art provides a safe space for thoughts and feelings.
Growing up is hard, and talking about all of the things you’re feeling and processing can be even harder! The practice of creating art provides kids with a way to release feelings, and express thoughts, that they may not even fully understand. Creating art is also extremely meditative, which allows you to have conversations with yourself while you paint, draw (or whatever kind of art you’re into.) As Dwayne Walker, one of Sparketh’s co-founders, says: “Creativity is the compass needed to navigate your sea of emotions.” Regular creative practice helps kids to understand themselves better, which likely contributes to developing a strong sense of self-awareness and confidence.
2. Creating art encourages you to express your ideas to other people.
This point goes right along with the last one. Regularly creating art doesn’t just help you to better understand your own thoughts and feelings. It also helps you to express them to other people. It’s a given that art is an outlet for self-expression. Self-expression teaches us (and others) that our unique ideas, feelings and perspectives matter. Sharing our ideas with others through art is definitely a confidence-building practice. While this is true for kids, it’s also true for adults, too!
3. Creating art focuses on the process of turning vision into reality.
In this article about the mental health benefits of art for kids and teens, I discussed how art can boost decision-making skills. Think about it. Whenever you make art, you are answering a series of questions for yourself. Most of these decisions aren’t complex. They involve making choices such as: What color? What medium? Which brush? What subject? Which line, where?
While these aren’t (always) hard decisions, they do require certainty, knowing your own mind, and figuring out how to produce a desired outcome. Each question answered in the artistic process is ultimately teaching the artist how to turn his or her vision into reality.
These things play a big role in fostering self-esteem and confidence. Furthermore, each decision made by the artist has an immediate and visible result–this can make you feel very powerful as you see how your choices have a direct impact!
4. Creating art encourages a sense of pride and self-worth.
Creativity is fulfilling. It’s a natural, and unique, facet of human nature that we desire to create art…and it always makes us proud when we complete a piece! This is one of the first things kids do naturally, right? Think of the way that toddlers immediately run to show their parents a drawing. The pride of completing an artistic work only grows along with the artist.
I think that some of this has to do with the pride that we get from showing ourselves that we can learn new things. There are always new things to learn in art. You can never be “done” learning. Art is all about learning, taking old concepts and applying them in original ways. The ability to demonstrate learning, express our unique art, and share it with others is one of the most fulfilling and confidence-boosting experiences for artists of all ages (from age 2 – 102).
5. Art encourages connection with others.
Art is often considered a solo activity. However, it’s actually more about connection than many people realize. Art is never a one-way conversation. Think about all of the art you’ve seen in galleries, in local art shows, or in your own group of artsy friends. It’s true that we create art for ourselves, but we also create it to be shared with, and experienced by, others! Artistic communities- both physical and virtual– also give artists a chance to connect through art and encourage one another. By providing a way to bond with others, regularly creating art boosts confidence while encouraging relationships and connection!
Regular creative practice fosters confidence and a strong sense of self in so many ways, especially for kids and teens! If you’re looking to help your child or teen to become more confident, regular art practice could be boost he or she needs. We offer portable, scaffolded online art classes for kids and teens on our Website, Sparketh.com! Check it out to find out more about our classes and membership benefits!