Visual Arts

Born Sensory Learners

Your baby loves to experiment with different fabrics, textures, and visual objects in books.


Mom is home with Levi on a cold and rainy Tuesday. Mom wants to have some bonding time with Levi, but she is unsure what else she can do besides read a book to him. Mom remembers that she and her husband have just put together a photo album with pictures from the most recent family get together. Mom picks up Levi from the floor and takes him to the family room, where she removes the album from the shelf. Together they sit and look at family photos as Mom describes each person to Levi. “Look, Levi, here is Grandpa with the fish he caught!” Levi reaches his arms out trying to grab the fish in the picture.


When Mom brings out the photo album she shares a wide variety of photos of people with her son. Levi reaches out to the picture of Grandpa holding a fish, body language that shows that Levi is most interested in that photograph.

The visual art system in infants develops rapidly over the first few weeks after birth. As early as nine minutes after birth, your baby will prefer to look at pictures and photos with color. When parents look at pictures, they can verbalize what they like about it or what they would prefer to see. The point is to engage the baby.

A perfect way to introduce visual art to your baby is by simply looking at photos of people, especially familiar people. Introducing your baby to art early on promotes neuronal connections in his brain. You can watch your baby respond to large, colorful paintings and pictures via a visual fixation or a smile.

Visual art gives your baby the ability to learn about the world around him through hands-on learning experiences as well.

By the time your baby is between eight and 12 months, he can hold a large writing tool (crayon or chalk) using a fist grasp and feeling it between his hands. Tape a large piece of white paper to the table and watch your baby make marks and lines on paper; it is important to give writing materials to your baby and support him in their use. Let him draw whatever he likes.

You give your baby a sense of emotional satisfaction when he can make art. This comes from making the decision to make one mark or two on the paper, from the control he has over the materials he is using, and from the autonomy he has in the decision to pick up the tool.

Visual art experiences do not require fancy materials. Use basic materials such as crayons and washable baby markers. Visual art is an open-ended learning opportunity, and a recognizable picture is not necessary to have at the end of the experience. The goal of visual art for your baby is the process of discovery.

Visual art plays a role in all areas of your infant’s development.

Visual art for your infant will develop him as a whole child and promote learning and growth in the following ways:

- develops visual-spatial relationships like that of hand-eye coordination skills through making marks on paper,
- creates an opportunity for your infant to develop a nonverbal language to express his feelings,
- promotes self-awareness and individuality, * heightens perceptual abilities,
- provides an important way for your infant to learn about his world!