Why Art is the Perfect Intergenerational Activity

May 3, 2022
By Beth Herrild


Will you be gathering with family for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or other holidays? Why not plan an art project that you can all do together? It’s the perfect intergenerational activity. Why? Well first of all, it’s fun! And some of the best conversations happen when people are all working on a project and not just sitting there staring at each other. This is especially true if any of your children are adolescents. Plus, there are such amazing benefits of creating art with your kids and also with older parents and grandparents.

Art is an essential part of every child’s education and development as a human being. Art helps a child’s motor skills, creative problem solving, cultural awareness, self-esteem, and cognitive development. For more reasons why you should do art WITH your kids, read our blog post, Why You’ll Never Regret Doing Art WITH Your Child. A report by Americans for the Arts states that “arts improve academic performance: Students engaged in arts learning have higher GPAs, standardized test scores, and college-going rates as well as lower drop-out rates.” Their studies also reveal that “young people who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.”

So we know that art is good for kids’ brains, but what makes it the perfect intergenerational activity? Art making is also extremely healthy for adults, especially middle aged and older adults. The Research Center for Arts and Culture (RCAC) at the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) established that “artists suffer less loneliness and depression than the general population. The research also proved general benefits of art-making and creative collaboration for the aging population.” Dr. Raquel Stephenson is Associate Professor of Art Therapy at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Her research shows that “making art with others can counteract the negative impacts of aging and instead promote increased self-esteem, motivation, and social connection, leading to improved health and well-being for older adults.” Beside, working on a project together is a great way to have wonderful conversations with loved ones who may not know what to talk about. Conversations just seem to flow better when everyone is working on something. Who knows, you may even talk about your art and learn new things about each other or express feelings you otherwise would not have. Art can make your holidays together even more special. So, next time you have an opportunity to spend time with your kids and parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles, why not work on an art project together?

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Need ideas for your art project? In the beginning of the pandemic, I created 8 super short videos of art projects parents could easily do at home with kids using materials they probably already have. These would be equally as fun to do with adults and older adults! By using supplies that you already have or are easily obtained, you are making the project seem less risky for everyone. I’m a huge advocate for using supplies that are good quality but not so good that artists feel horrible if they want to start over! This watercolor project is quick, easy, and fun. You’ll notice in most of these videos that I recommend reading a book with kids to start the project. The books I recommend are picture books which may be enjoyable for the adults as well! A couple of the projects utilize recycled materials from around your home. They not only reduce your cost for materials but mode reusing and recycling for kids! The Torn Paper Collage Project and Toilet Paper Roll Critters are two of my all time favorites!

What are you waiting for? Start making masterpieces and memories with the important people in your life on Mother’s Day or any day you’re together! And if you want to make it easy to regularly do art projects with the important people in your life, maybe you’d like to receive our monthly art subscription boxes? They are designed for sharing! The Regular Size comes with enough supplies for up to two artists and the Family Size includes enough supplies for 3-4 artists.