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Sociocultural theory and children’s art making

Publication Authors: 
Heather Malin
Publication Year: 
Publication Journal: 
M. Sakr & J. Osgood (Eds.), Postdevelopmental Approaches to Childhood Art. DOI: 10.5040/9781350042575

Children making art are, very simply put, engaging in an activity. To get beyond the traditional understanding of childhood artistic development, we can unpack this simple idea: What does it mean to engage in activity? What sort of activity is art-making? How does this activity related to child development? In psychological theory, activity is a sociocultural concept - it is how individuals interact with and connect to the physical and social world, how they learn and change through that interaction, and how the world is transformed through the individual's participation. This chapter delves into these questions about art-making as a sociocultural activity to explore what can be learned about children's artistic development by observing the act of art-making rather than looking at completed art objects.