Supporting Your Young Artist

Industrious Collaborators

Encouraging the arts for 7-9 year-olds


Young artists at this age are industrious and collaborative creators. They are eager to learn and build skills. Friends and buddies are important bonds, and these young artists are keen to work with peers.

Features of these ages:

Playfulness remains a hallmark of this stage. The arts are considered fun and now children are excited to delve more deeply and develop some mastery. These children are able to work with others and to take on responsibility, ready to be useful and productive. Children become increasingly independent during this period, discovering more about themselves and their abilities. Critical thinking emerges, and they begin to develop opinions about their arts experiences. Children are also noticing differences between themselves and others. Relationships with adults remain important and can be very beneficial for children’s own self-regard when adults positively reinforce behavior.

The arts at this stage:


  • Children can learn or create a piece of choreography and then repeat it.
  • Gross motor skills, including balance and coordination, progress tremendously during this period.


  • Children at this age often foster an interest in formally studying music. Even the most enthusiastic young musician will need adult encouragement. Children can be well-intentioned about practicing but need adult support and guidance to see it through.
  • A child’s singing ability becomes more mature but is still something children typically prefer to do in groups. Gender differences can emerge at this stage, with girls generally showing a preference for singing over boys.
  • As with younger children, parents should continue to provide a wide variety of music choices, particularly as children gravitate towards popular music.


  • Pretend play continues but more informally than in earlier years. As children grow through this stage, pretend play more often becomes a solo activity (such as with toys). Pretend play can be a valuable unstructured activity and can be a good balance to school, which becomes increasingly structured during this period.
  • Children have the cognitive development and maturity to be good audience members. With some preparation, they can attend performances appropriately and appreciatively.

Visual Arts

  • Children become more focused on the art product rather than the process. Collecting finished work, such as in a scrapbook or a digital folder, can encourage children to reflect on and discuss their work.
  • The subject of children’s art often reflects their interests and experiences.
  • Fine motor skills are expanding and becoming more sophisticated. These skills benefit from a range of more difficult materials and tools. At this stage, children are able to learn how to use a variety of art tools safely and appropriately.
  • Children are able to draw from observation.

For all the arts

  • Encourage children to discuss their ideas and feelings about their own artwork and arts experiences.
  • Artistic self-image and awareness are developing. Positively reinforce and support behavior during this stage.



Patti Saraniero
Original Writer

Editors & Producers

Lisa Resnick
Content Editor

Kenny Neal
Manager, Digital Education Resources


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

Image via Creative Commons; flickr.com user Knoxville Museum of Art

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