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Benefits of Sculpting for Kids: Jumpstart Creativity & 3D Thinking

There are so many benefits of sculpting for kids! Build 3D thinking, develop tactile kinesthetic learning, and prepare for creative careers in the digital age.


Sculpting for Beginners

Ever heard of kids learning to sculpt? I’ll bet rarely, if ever. When discussing kids’ art education and at-home art projects, sculpting is often overlooked. This is a weird oversight when you think about it. There are so many sculptural objects that we use everyday! I love to sip my morning tea out of artisan-made mugs. We all have a favorite chair or sofa that seems perfectly designed to be our happy place. And shoot, who doesn’t love a festive piñata?!

That’s not to mention all of the iconic sculptures that we love. The Volkeswagon Bug, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Statue of Liberty are all beloved, iconic objects. Our culture is rich with imaginative sculpture, yet we rarely think to practice it.

In this overview, we will discuss the benefits of sculpture for kids, how to practice it at home, and why it’s vital to help kids think in 3D.

Photo of a blue vintage VW bug car.
Think of all the iconic 3D designs out there...
photo of the Golden Gate Bridge
...that we love. Many of the skills used to create these treasured cultural forms are the same ones children start developing when they practice sculpture.


What is Sculpture?

So what is sculpture anway?! defines sculpture as “an artistic form in which hard or plastic materials are worked into three-dimensional art objects.” In this context btw, “plastic” is referring to something malleable, not what soda bottles are made from.

As an artist experienced in various mediums—clay, wire, wood, glass, paper, found objects, and metals—I believe any 3D shape requiring human ingenuity counts as sculpture. Come to think of it, I also consider birds’ nests, beehives, and termite mounds as sculpture. This goes to show that sculpture is a broad term with lots of grey area. Which means, there’s tons of room for individual expression and creativity!

A photo of Playdoh pots.
Want to know how to practice sculpture with kids? Break out that old classic- Playdoh!


What are the Benefits of Sculpture?

It turns out there are tons of benefits of sculpture for kids. Here are just a few.

Sculpture Teaches Kids to Think in 3D

One of the most important things young humans learn is how to perceive and navigate our 3D world. Think of all the milestones in babies and toddlers that establish just that. Putting one object inside of another, playing peek-a-boo, putting food into their own mouths, etc. Encouraging kids to practice sculpture helps them understand, manipulate, and succeed within their 3D environment.

Making Things That Work

Let’s be honest, in this digital age our kids don’t get nearly enough opportunities to make things that work. While art in general helps address a lot of the learning gaps of the digital age, 3D art is the only art that forces kids to truly understand materials and physics.

I’ll never forget the lessons I learned in my college sculpture class when I made a bronze frog. My frog was meant to be a cute, 3” figurine but since it was made of bronze, it was insanely heavy. That sucker probably weighted 2 pounds! Add to this, when I used a grinder to flatten the frogs' feet, I ground the feet unevenly. I had made a 3lb statue that could not stand upright! After it gouged my floorboards and almost broke my toes more times that I care to remember, I had to send that froggie back to the melting pot. Sculpture forces us to make things that WORK.

Tactile Kinesthetic Learning

This kind of learning may be a bear to pronounce (and a lion to remember) but tactile kinesthetic learning is crucial for many kids. According to Western Governors University, “Kinesthetic or tactile learners need to physically touch or try something to learn the concept best.” This is a fancy way of saying “I learn by doing”. That applies to everyone to some extent, right? Letting kids sink their chubby lil fingers into mounds of clay or tinker around with Crayola Model Magic is a great way to serve the tactile learner inside of every child.

Balancing Learning in the Digital Age

While digital technology has many benefits, it's all very FLAT. Interacting with the 3D world through sculpting helps kids develop a true understanding of physical space and consequences, something digital experiences can’t shake a stick at.

And yes, I know there is game physics but this is still only an imitation of how the world works. We all know that standing under a waterfall in Zelda is just not the same as standing under one IRL. Sculpture engages our entire nervous system and results in a deep, intuitive understanding of how the world works.

Empowering Creative, 3D Thinkers

Just like some people seem born to be communicators, singers, athletes or chefs, there are born sculptors. Think of Michealangelo or the prehistoric artist who brought us the Venus of Willendorf. Sculpture and building 3D objects are ancient pursuits that some of us are naturally gifted in.

Sculpting offers the perfect outlet for kinetic learners and those who think spatially. These kids are unique thinkers whose skills we need to develop and encourage so that as they become adults, they can be the next 3D problem-solvers and visionaries. So break out the playdough, because that kid could be living in your house!

Pathway to Interesting Careers

Sculpting skills can lead to exciting and important careers in interior design, architecture, fashion design, medical device invention, engineering, and more.

Understanding how to think in 3D is crucial in many fields, making sculpting a valuable tool that kids can use to forge their own future.

Photo of a handmade boat.
Sculpting for beginners is so fun! Boat making is a great way to learn how things work.


Benefits of Sculpture in Review

To quickly review, kids need to practice sculpture because:

  • Sculpture teaches kids to think in 3D.

  • How to make things that work.

  • It activates tactile kinesthetic learners.

  • It balances learning in the digital age.

  • It can lead to fascinating and important careers.

Photo of the Statue of Liberty,
The Statue of Liberty is another beloved example of 3D art.


Let’s Sculpt at Home!

So let’s normalize sculpture at home. Stock your creative pantry with sculpting art supplies and encourage your kids to explore this versatile medium. By embracing sculpture, we can help our kids develop valuable skills, enhance their creativity, and help them sculpt a future worth getting excited about.


Check out my post “Best art supplies for sculpture” to start building out your at-home creative pantry. Also, check out some of the amazing and inspiring 3D art I have linked below! There is so much yummy 3D art for the brain and the imagination.

Yummy 3D art

photo of Crayola Model Magic and markers.
Crayola Model Magic is just one of my favorite supplies for practicing sculpture at home.


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