/families/at-home/supporting-your-young-artist/10-12yo-self-discovery-self-expression

Supporting Your Young Artist

Self-Discovery, Self-Expression

Encouraging the arts for 10-12 year-olds

ContentTabPage

Young artists at this age are becoming self-aware and increasingly interested in expressing their thoughts and ideas. The arts are a vital extension of this newfound self-expression.

Features of these ages:

At this stage, attention begins to turn inward. Children are becoming tweens, a preadolescent step between primary childhood and being teenagers.” The independence that emerged in the earlier stage has evolved into tweens’ expectations to make choices for themselves. Peers continue to grow in importance. Friends are typically the same gender, and it is not uncommon for tweens to develop crushes. Tweens begin to question adults’ rules. It is typical for tweens to develop gender stereotypes about art forms. Bodies begin to change during this stage and puberty begins.

The arts at this stage:

Dance

  • With puberty’s arrival, body image begins to change as well. This stage happens earlier for girls while boys typically hit puberty closer to age 12. The onset of puberty can lead tweens to grow in self-consciousness. Tweens studying dance formally will do best in environments where they feel emotionally safe and artistically challenged.
  • The ability to use movement to express ideas and feelings is fully realized during this stage. Tweens are able to tackle a range of dance styles.
  • The physical activity of dance may have benefits for the tween brain and muscular systems beyond the enjoyment of dance.

Music

  • It’s not too late to start formal lessons at this stage. Research has shown that beginning lessons around 11 or 12 can lead to a greater chance of sticking with the instrument.
  • Boys may become increasingly reluctant to sing at this age, so male role models can be particularly powerful influences. Girls will typically find singing, particularly in groups, to be an enjoyable experience.
  • Technological tools and apps that allow tweens to make music can be extremely compelling and engaging.

Theater

  • Tweens can and should be exposed to a range of dramatic material, which they can appreciate and discuss. Tweens, however, are still thinking concretely and may take rigid positions about issues brought up in theatrical work. They will benefit from discussion that encourages perspective-taking of different characters.
  • Children have the cognitive development and maturity to be good audience members. They can attend performances appropriately and appreciatively.

Visual Arts

  • Artists begin to include significantly more detail in their work. Their thinking is still concrete and they are becoming increasingly aware of precision in their work. Tween artwork is also often characterized by realism.
  • The subject of tweens’ art often reflects ideas that have personal meaning. Tweens become increasingly interested in representing their own ideas and point-of-view in their artwork.

For all the arts

  • Look for opportunities for tweens to participate in the arts with other tweens.
  • Cultivate tweens’ interests by exposing them to a wide variety of styles in the arts.

Credits

Writers

Patti Saraniero
Original Writer

Editors & Producers

Lisa Resnick
Content Editor

Kenny Neal
Producer

Sources

Child Development and Arts Education: A review of Current Research and Best Practices. Prepared by the College Board for The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards. January, 2012
https://nccas.wikispaces.com/Child+Development+Research

Image via Creative Commons; flickr.com user Erik Olaerts

© 1996-2017 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  

ArtsEdge is an education program of

The Kennedy Center 

with the support of

Department of Education



ARTSEDGE, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David and Alice Rubenstein.

Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee
for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.

The contents of this Web site were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, those contents do not
necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government.
Unless otherwise stated, ArtsEdge materials may be copied, modified and otherwise utilized for non-commercial educational purposes
provided that ArtsEdge and any authors listed in the materials are credited and provided that you permit others to use them in the same manner.

Change Background:

Connect with us!    EMAIL US | YouTube | Facebook | iTunes | MORE!

© 1996-2017 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts  
    Privacy Policy
| Terms and Conditions

Close

You are now leaving the ArtsEdge website. Thank you for visiting!

If you are not automatically transferred, please click the link below:
http://absoluteshakespeare.com

ArtsEdge and The Kennedy Center are in no way responsible for the content of the destination site, its ongoing availability, links to other site or the legality or accuracy of information on the site or its resources.

Cancel

Close