Sub-domain: Creative Arts

The Creative Arts sub-domain covers goals forty-six and forty-seven of the Idaho Early Learning Guidelines. 

Using this guide

Scroll down to see the age group you are most interested in. Click on the goal to learn more about the goal's:

  • developmental growth
  • child indicators
  • caregiver strategies

There is an option to download the information at the end of each goal. When you click the link you will be brought to a new page where you can download the goal as a PDF.  

Child holding a drawing of a rainbow up against a window

0 - 8 Months

Goal 46: Children use creative arts to express and represent what they know, think, believe, or feel.

Developmental Growth: Responds to light, color, sound, texture, and motion.

Child Indicators: Gazes at pictures, photographs, and mirror images. Seeks visual complexity such as light and dark or strong patterns.  Visually tracks moving colorful objects or persons. Enjoys repetition. Imitates sounds, facial expressions, and gestures of another person. Responds to music and dancing in caregiver’s arms.

Caregiver Strategies: Actively describe to child what you see. Imitate and respond appropriately to child’s sounds. Sing songs to and with child (working around the house or classroom or waiting for the bus).Provide visual and tactile textures for child to see and touch.

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Goal 47: Children demonstrate understanding and appreciation of creative arts.

Developmental Growth: Sensory exploration.

Child Indicators: Shows interest in sounds, tones, voices, music, colors, and shapes. Interacts with others through touch and motion. Reacts to sensory aspects of light, sound, color, texture, and movement.

Caregiver Strategies: Expose child to a range of voice sounds (singing, speaking, and humming). Show an enjoyment of music and participate in musical activities around child (sing aloud). Sing songs with child. Dance and move with child. Provide visual stimulation with a variety of colors, patterns, and pictures within child’s visual spaces. Provide a range of safe textures for child to explore.

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6 - 18 Months

Goal 46: Children use creative arts to express and represent what they know, think, believe, or feel.

Developmental Growth:  Responds to visual, auditory, tactile stimulation with kinesthetic and sensory exploration.

Child Indicators: Experiments with a variety of sound sources (rattles, bells). Explores sounds by making changes in pitch and loudness, and mimicking animal sounds. Exhibits an increased variety of movements to express self using different body parts. Dances or moves to music. Imitates sounds or actions of an animal or object. Experiments with a variety of art materials (paint, markers, crayons, pencils). Shows preferences for colors, textures, shapes, and sizes. Tries on dress-ups and simple costumes for play, dancing, or just for the sake of trying on the item.

Caregiver Strategies: Engage the child in experiments with safe materials like sand, water, colored paper, crayons, markers, flannel, natural materials like grass, snow, and sticks. Provide simple choices of medium for exploration. Provide safe rattles and other toys that make sounds. Provide creative movement experiences using toys and materials like scarves and musical instruments (free dance, imitate animals, recreate favorite stories and routines, finger plays), Provide open-ended toys that foster creativity that can be multi- purpose (blocks, scarves, dress- up clothing that represents more than one theme). Sing and dance while holding child.

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Goal 47: Children demonstrate understanding and appreciation of creative arts.

Developmental Growth: Respond to visual, auditory, tactile stimulation with kinesthetic and sensory exploration.

Child Indicators: May enjoy looking at children’s books of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. May enjoy rhythms and songs.Prefers repetition of familiar songs and rhythmic patterns. Responds to light, color, patterns, and textures. May show interest in tactile experiences like sand, water, mud, and soft or hard surfaces. May show interest in art materials (crayons, markers, pens, paper, notebooks).

Caregiver Strategies: Expose child to music from a variety of cultures and styles (jazz, rock, world beat, Latin, classical). Take walks with child and explore shapes, color, and light in the immediate environment. Comment aloud when you see interesting colors, pictures, or a nice view. Provide a thoughtful and aesthetic environment. Provide cultural images within the child’s environment. Dance and move with the child. Provide opportunities for child to work with and explore art materials like natural materials and art materials.

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The arts give children ways to express their feelings, experiences, and meanings in ways that go beyond the limits of language.

16 - 38 Months

Goal 46: Children use creative arts to express and represent what they know, think, believe, or feel.

Developmental Growth: Use singing, drawing/painting, and movement to express self and make meaning of experiences

Child Indicators: Makes up rhymes and songs. Uses a variety of materials for tactile experience and exploration (paint, glue, 3-dimensional materials, musical instruments, dance). Engages in messy play activities such as painting, water-play, and building sand structures. Engages in the artistic process with enthusiasm. Explores various ways of moving with or without music. Explores simple songs using voice and/or instruments. Makes up songs and uses the voice as the primary instrument. Engages in pretend play with hats, clothing props, shoes, purses, and other props. Enjoys picture books; especially with photographs of familiar objects or places. Engages in spontaneous and imaginative play using a variety of materials to dramatize stories and experiences. Uses objects for more than one purpose (big hat used for a baby carrier).

Caregiver Strategies: Express a sense of appreciation of works of art, (those created by the child and those created by others). Exhibit child’s artwork in places it can be viewed by the child and easily admired. View art materials as meaningful and provide a space for their use. Introduce child to a variety of art materials and allow open-ended exploration. Provide opportunities to finger paint with non-toxic colors (provide opportunities to paint with a large brush and 1 or 2 colors at a low easel). Engage the child in the use of simple musical instruments (rhythm sticks, drums, and tambourine). Display local and classic art forms from child’s cultural background. Expose child to a variety of live and recorded music. Provide puppets, dress-up clothing, and other props to encourage dramatic play, and family and career play. Provide creative movement experiences using toys and materials like scarves and musical instruments (free dance, imitate animals, recreate favorite stories and routines, finger plays). Provide access to easy cleanup for those children who dislike messy activities. Help children “piggyback” new songs on tunes they already know (Twinkle, Twinkle tune with words that describe sweeping the floor.

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Goal 47: Children demonstrate understanding and appreciation of creative arts.

Developmental Growth: Explores tools to create light, color, image, music, movement, and textures.

Child Indicators: Observes and responds to artwork produced by other individuals and/or cultures. Imitates movement after participating in or watching others perform games, dance, or songs.Exhibits interest when watching musical, dance, or theatre performances by other individuals. Identifies favorite storybook characters. May show interest and work with different art materials like play dough, crayons, markers, scissors, pens, paper, notebooks, book making.

Caregiver Strategies: Engage child in daily musical activities, games, instruments, singing, and books. Include instruments that can be worn rather than held (e.g. bracelet of bells).Display the work of artists through prints, posters, paintings, and books from child’s own and other cultural backgrounds. Provide multiple opportunities for child to listen to music of all cultures and styles. Provide multiple opportunities for child to dance and move to music of many cultures. Provide opportunities for child to work with and explore art materials such as natural materials, art materials, and open- ended materials like paper cups, cotton balls, pipe cleaners.

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36 - 60 Months

Goal 46: Children use creative arts to express and represent what they know, think, believe, or feel.

Developmental Growth: Uses artistic expression and language to communicate emotions and make meaning of experiences.

Child Indicators: Participates in group music experiences (sings, finger plays, chants, musical instruments). Explores simple songs using voice and/or instruments. Remembers the words to an oft- repeated song. Makes up songs and uses the voice as the primary instrument. Asks to sing a particular song. Participates freely in dramatic play activities (pantomimes movement of familiar things, acts out stories, re-enacts events from his/her own life). Tries one type of art many times (painting at easel several days in a row, using different colors, or covering the whole paper with paint).Uses a variety of media and tools to create original works of art. Creates artwork with details representing ideas, experiences, and feelings. Performs simple elements of drama (audience, actors, stage). Pretends to be on stage and uses a microphone to sing. Uses clay and other medium to create three-dimensional sculptures.

Caregiver Strategies: Point out various types of art and materials found in books, photographs, and on the computer. Engage the child in daily creative art activities using a variety of materials (watercolors, collage materials, paints, paper, scissors, glue, crayons). Make adaptations by adding handles or grips to art tools to make easier to use as needed.Provide opportunities for child to express feelings and recreate experiences through art, movement, and drama. Provide a variety of supplies, time, and space for artistic exploration and expression. Involve child in diverse musical activities (song, dance, rhythm, playing musical instruments) from his/her own and other cultural backgrounds.

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Goal 47: Children demonstrate understanding and appreciation of creative arts.

Developmental Growth: Respond to and create symbolic and representation art, music, dance, and dramatic themes.

Child Indicators: Watches other children dance and then tries to mimic the dance steps. Listens attentively at a children’s concert, play, or puppet show. Hums or moves to the rhythm of recorded music. Shares various forms of art found in own environment. Wonders about or asks questions about works of art, paintings, songs, dance, and theatre.

Caregiver Strategies: Attend and view live musical performances with child. Engage the child in various forms of dramatic expression (puppetry, storytelling, dance, plays, pantomime, theater). Engage child in the observation and expression of what was seen when watching people from a variety of cultures creating art. Provide opportunities for child to watch people creating arts and crafts. Involve child in musical experiences that reflect diverse cultures (singing, dancing, listening, acting). Arrange for long-term art projects (mural, beading, music, dance, weaving, carving, and mask- making) with guest artists from child’s own and other cultural backgrounds.

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Children’s ability to express and represent themselves through movement, music, theater, and visual arts are an outgrowth of cognition.

60 Months - Kindergarten

Goal 46: Children use creative arts to express and represent what they know, think, believe, or feel.

Developmental Growth: Display a repertoire of skills for using tools of art, music, and vocabulary to show knowledge and feelings

Child Indicators: Uses music to express thoughts, feelings, and energy. Expresses his/her feelings and ideas through creative art, drama, and movement. Uses simple instruments such as rhythm sticks, tambourines, or drums to create rhythm, beat, and patterns. Shows interest in more complicated instruments (piano, guitar, marimba, drums). Enjoys singing, making up silly and rhyming verses, imitating rhythmic patterns, and using music to tell stories and express feelings. Develops ability to plan and work, both alone and with others; and to demonstrate care, persistence, and elaboration in a variety of art projects. Illustrates dictated books, adds words to illustrations, and then illustrations to dictated words. Uses a variety of media to express ideas, experiences, and emotions. Finds new ways to use objects and media for creative expression (combining paper cups, collage craps, and carpentry to make a mobile).

Caregiver Strategies:  Provide child with an assortment of art materials that are readily available to the child on a daily basis. Make adaptations by adding handles or grips to art tools to make easier to use as needed.Display art projects completed by child, as well as copies of classic art, if possible. Take child on trips to museums and community centers to view what other people have created and to share ideas and feelings about art. Take child to music, dance, and theatre performances. Encourage child to draw, paint, sing, or move the way he/she feels.Introduce child to more complex musical instruments (guitar, piano) and instruments from diverse cultures.

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Goal 47: Children demonstrate understanding and appreciation of creative arts.

Developmental Growth: Chooses and has opinions about aesthetic likes and dislikes, recognizes familiar cultural forms and shows, and is willing to explore new forms.

Child Indicators: Describes all art forms and considers potential intentions of the artist.Appreciates the artistic creations of others; the skill of a dancer; or someone’s ability to play a musical instrument, sing, or act.Exhibits excitement when a picture or sculpture reminds him/her of people, objects, or events in own life. Comments on the artwork of other children, asking simple questions about methods used and noticing details.

Caregiver Strategies: Take child on field trips to museums or street fairs and encourage child to identify his/her favorite painting or object and discuss why. Talk about feelings and opinions after seeing a performance or looking at a piece of art. Provide child with experiences of art forms and performing groups from their own and other cultural backgrounds. Take child on field trips to dance, musical and theatre events and performances (community programs, school performances, fairs, and traditional cultural presentations).

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