Language Learning Through Art

Fine arts like drawing, painting and coloring have different interpretations for everyone. For some, these activities are an expression of creativity and imagination, and for others they are time-tested leisure activities. However, many people are not aware of the ways these forms of art can help in the personal development of individuals. One such benefit of paintings is in developing the language skills in children, both very young as well as teenagers.

How Does It Work?

Typically, a group of kids (preferably of a similar age group) will assemble in a classroom or an informal setting. However, instead of a standard approach of using textbooks for language learning, they take paintings as a reference.

The first step in this process is selecting the type and piece of painting. For example, you will have to choose from different styles of painting like abstract, contemporary, futurism, etc. Some paintings involve a lot of colours while others may not. Paintings with a lot of colours are suited for very young kids as they can be helpful in colour recognition.

Some paintings will have a lot of characters (such as The Last Supper,) whereas a painting like Mona Lisa focuses on a single character. A painting like The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo involves strong emotions, making it suitable for teenagers. Whereas a painting like Guernica by Pablo Picasso has a lot of shapes and will be useful for young ones recently introduced to geometry. Once the type of painting is selected, based on it, you can devise the activities and exercises for language learning.

Exercises for Developing Language skills through Art

Group Discussions:

Children can be given a piece of painting and then be made to talk about the shapes, the colours and the objects used. They can also be made to name the parts of the human body, pieces of clothing as well as describe objects using relevant adjectives and describe all action words or verbs. Students can also be encouraged to use other parts of speech, like prepositions and pronouns, to discuss the painting.

Writing Exercises:

Learners of any language have to deal with a whole lot of new words. It can be very difficult to apply these learnings and determine which words should be used where. In this context, children can be given a piece of painting and be made to write about their interpretation and understanding of it. Given the focus area of this activity is limited to painting alone, students will find this activity much easier and more engaging as compared to general writing exercises.


You can also devise language quizes that focus on the selected painting specifically. These quizes can be written or oral. Answering questions about the painting, either in oral or written format, can make children more confident of their language skills. Quizes give an opportunity to apply the learnings of a language in an unconventional way, thereby strengthening the learnings acquired from language textbooks.

The Benefits of Language Learning through Paintings

Vocabulary Building:

The exercises suggested above can be very handy in developing vocabulary of children. Children will be able to pick-up a lot of new words while having fun. For instance, children will learn from textbooks about different colours, but observing a colorful painting and describing these colors will help them put these words and phrases into practice.

Sentence Construction:

In addition to vocabulary building, art also helps in sentence construction. For example, when children say in a group discussion “This is a square,” or “This object is red,” their sentence construction skills are tested. Discussions on art can also help children in distinguishing between singulars and plurals.

Removes Self-consciousness:

For some children, development of language skills is a challenging experience. The biggest problem faced by them is that they become very self-conscious while communicating. This prevents them from being their real self and embrace all the knowledge coming their way. However, when the focus of language learning shifts from the student to a painting, students are a lot more involved in the activity.

Increases Engagement:

The use of painting as a tool also increases the engagement level of children. For example, as compared to writing simple essays, when children are writing about a specific painting that they have seen first-hand, they will be much more involved in the writing process.

Better Understanding of Ideas:

When ideas are shown in a visual form, children are able to understand them in a much better way as opposed to when they are presented in a plain text form. The use of visuals stimulates the cognitive processes of students, thereby improving the quality of language learning.


In conclusion, it can be safely said that arts like painting can be a very useful tool for developing the language skills of children. It should be noted, however, that these activities should not be used as a substitute to language textbooks; instead, they are an additional tool, which can help solidify the learnings of the textbook.