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Child Development Tracker

Home » 8 to 9 »

Creative Arts

Supporting Activities


You'll find everything here - script, props, costumes - to stage your own play! Be a Play-Maker!

Maya and Miguel

Weave a paper placemat and cover it with favorite sports pictures. Sporty Placemat

Books for Your Child

Reading to children every day is a great way for them to learn new skills. Third graders will enjoy these books about art.

A child's development in the creative arts varies greatly based on the child's experiences with art, music, dance, and theater. Given exposure and practice, eight-year-olds create more detailed and realistic images in their artwork. Plus, they can better identify the subject matter in art. Children this age also know more music terminology and can describe a variety of musical styles that represent diverse cultures. In addition, they sing or play instruments with improved skill. Eight-year-olds are able to create a complete dance sequence, and then repeat it and vary it. They also start to use mature dance form and can correctly remember dance combinations. In the study of theater, children this age show greater concentration and sophistication in playing different characters, and can draw from a variety of sources to improvise dialogue and tell stories.


  • Is increasingly concerned about depicting objects realistically, and is more able to portray objects in this manner. Adds an average of ten parts to the drawing of a person, often including hair, eyes, pupils, ears, arm and fingers, leg and foot. In drawings, often likes to include people and objects in motion. Can create effective compositions, using design elements and principles with increased attempts at realistic depictions (e.g., draws a horse on a baseline and includes details such as a saddle and bridle). Manipulates a variety of materials to create 2-D or 3-D art works with increased complexity. Selects ideas for works of art that reflect personal culture and experiences (e.g., draws himself on a bicycle, constructs model buildings that frequently reflect buildings in current or past communities). Continues to increase self-sufficiency by trying activities independently.

  • Knows the differences among art materials (e.g., paint, clay, wood, videotape), techniques (e.g., overlapping, shading, varying size or color), and processes (e.g., casting and constructing in making jewelry). Uses art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner. With increased awareness of the artist's intention, describes how different materials, techniques, and processes cause various responses (e.g., says, "The artist used the color blue to show that the figure is sad."). Makes increasingly complex choices about the structures and functions of art, as well as the media and techniques used to convey meaning (e.g., chooses cardboard, tape, and markers to construct a rocket).

  • Uses greater detail to compare the ways that individuals and families are depicted in different artwork. Can create artwork based on personal observations and experiences (e.g., says, "This is a picture of my family at the beach. I am in the water because I love to swim.").

  • Increases ability to identify stories and other subject matter in a variety of artwork. Gets better at identifying and describing art elements in various works, including line, form, shape, color, texture, space, and value. Explains how different media (e.g., oil, watercolor, stone, metal), techniques, and processes can be used to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories, as well as evoke different responses in the viewer. Describes how different compositional, expressive features (e.g., colors or subjects evoking joy, sadness, or anger), and organizational principles (e.g., repetition, balance, emphasis, contrast, unity) also cause different responses.

  • Knows how history, culture, and the visual arts can influence each other, with an increased interest in stories about artists and specific current or historical events that shaped specific artwork. Knows how people's experiences (e.g., cultural background, human needs) can influence the development of specific artwork. Identifies and describes distinctive roles of artists in society (e.g., identifies artistic professions, such as painter, sculptor, architect, etc). Identifies an increased number of works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Uses improved analytical skills to compare the ways that individuals and families are depicted in different artwork. Can express ideas about personal artwork in detail with clear reference to the image or structure. Gives more complex reasons for what he or she likes and dislikes about a piece of art (e.g., says, "I like the way the artist used yellow to brighten the picture."). Identifies ideas about original artwork, portfolios, and exhibitions by peers and others. Explains various purposes for creating works of visual art. Understands there are different responses to specific artwork (e.g., one person may interpret Mona Lisa's expression as pleasing, while another person may think it is mysterious). Knows how people's experiences (e.g., cultural background, human needs) can influence the development of specific artwork.

  • Uses increased detail, accuracy, and interpretation to draw and discuss visual images based on text descriptions. Identifies a larger number of literary and historical subject matter depicted in the visual arts. Conducts additional experiments with light and the color spectrum to create visual effects. Works with geometric shapes and principles to create artistic designs.


  • Can move to, answer questions about, and describe a variety of musical styles that represent diverse cultures.

  • Can remember the words and melodies to a variety of songs that represent diverse cultures. Is able to expressively sing or play these songs on instruments with improved skill, either alone or with a group. In a group performance, can perform increasingly complex partner songs (two separate songs that can be performed simultaneously), rounds, and short musical patterns that are repeated throughout a song (ostinatos). Can better blend vocal sounds when singing with a group. Is able to perform an independent instrumental part of a song while other students play contrasting parts. Improves ability to follow direction given by a conductor.

  • Plays increasingly sophisticated musical patterns on simple instruments. Improvises musical patterns and melodies to go along with songs of various cultures. Creates and arranges short songs and instrumental pieces within specified guidelines (e.g., using a particular style or instrument). Can create and arrange music to accompany readings or dramatizations.

  • Increases knowledge of appropriate terminology used to explain music, music notation, music instruments and voices, and music performance. Improves ability to read and write music notation, and can interpret such notation correctly when performing. Is able to identify by sight and sound instruments from the four orchestral families (woodwind, string, brass, percussion), as well as male and female adult voices. Improves ability to identify elements like melody, rhythm, and harmony when listening to music.

  • Shows proper audience etiquette during live performances. Creates criteria for evaluating musical performances and compositions. Can now use appropriate music terminology to explain personal preferences for specific musical works and styles.

  • Can name the type or style of select examples of music from various historical periods and cultures. Is also able to describe, in simple terms, how elements of music (e.g., melody, rhythm, harmony) are used in these examples. Recognizes how music is incorporated in daily experiences and can describe characteristics that make certain music suitable for each use. Identifies and describes roles of musicians (e.g., orchestra conductor, folksinger, church organist) in various music settings and cultures.

  • Explains connections between music and other disciplines (e.g., foreign languages: singing songs in various languages; language arts: using the expressive elements of music in interpretive readings; mathematics: mathematical basis of values of notes, rests, and time signatures; science: vibration of strings, drum heads, or air columns generating sounds used in music; geography: songs associated with various countries or regions).


  • Responds to the mood of a piece of music through movement and dance. Moves to a rhythmic accompaniment (e.g., drum beat) and responds to changes in the speed of music (tempo). Is able to perform using a series of body shapes (e.g., stretched, curled, twisted) on different levels above the floor and creates moving transitions between them. Performs and differentiates among basic locomotor (e.g., hopping, walking, sliding, etc.) and nonlocomotor (e.g., bending, twisting, swinging, etc.) movements. Shows body awareness when performing movement skills, and demonstrates increasing concentration and focus. Can vary the spatial elements of movement (e.g., personal and shared space, movement at different levels above the floor, moving in various directions around a room, size of movement). With adequate exposure to dance instruction, can describe a variety of basic movement elements (e.g., the height of the dancer from the floor, directions of movement). Is able to create a dance sequence (with beginning, middle, and end), and then repeat it and vary it. Begins to use mature form and remember appropriate sequences for combinations of movement (e.g., when performing a certain dance).

  • Creates dances based on personal ideas and concepts from other sources. Describes processes used when creating dances (e.g., imagining, visualizing, problem solving, how ideas are communicated through movement). Knows how improvisation is used to discover and invent movement and to solve movement problems (e.g., teacher says, "How can you use the space of the stage to convey a feeling of excitement?"). Identifies specific actions, gestures, and changes in movements that communicate feelings and ideas.

  • Demonstrates how improvisation is used to discover and invent movement. Continues to develop partner skills (e.g., copying, leading and following, mirroring). Is able to describe some of the ways that words, sounds, pictures, props, and stories are used to create or perform dances.

  • Explains how dance is different from other forms of human movement (e.g., sports, everyday gestures). Explains how a dance may elicit various interpretations and reactions that differ from the meaning intended by the dancer. Knows the technical and artistic components of various forms of dance.

  • Knows that many cultures have their own dances. Is familiar with the cultural and historical context of a wider variety of dance forms, especially those found within their community.

  • Can explain how nutrition and safety enhance the ability to dance.

  • Continues to improve skills for using movement to show understanding of principles in other disciplines (e.g., shapes in math, patterns in science, the mood of a poem). Can use other art forms to respond to dance (e.g., creates a painting that reflects a style of dance).


  • Can act out a wider variety of real-life and imaginative situations through dramatic play, story dramatization, and narrative pantomime (using movement rather than talking to act out poetry and other writing). Shows greater concentration and sophistication in playing different characters (e.g., varies types of movements and vocal qualities). Is able to draw from personal experiences, heritage, imagination, history, and various media to improvise dialogue and tell stories. Can then formalize such improvisations by writing or recording the dialogue. Can collaborate with others to select interrelated characters, environments, and situations for more formal and structured dramatizations, such as those done in a classroom.

  • Improves ability to use music, creative movement, and visual components (e.g., props, costumes) in dramatic play. In more structured dramatic work, can better visualize and plan how to use space, sounds, movement, and simple technical elements (e.g., scenery, lighting, make-up, etc.) to create a theatrical experience.

  • Can compare the content or message in two different dramatic works. Is able to explain personal preferences about an entire dramatic performance or its individual parts. Can describe personal emotional responses to a performance. Imagines and clearly describes characters, their relationships, and their environments. Also, can explain how the wants and needs of characters are similar to and different from their own. Can apply appropriate terminology when analyzing dramatizations, as well as provide constructive ideas for improving a dramatic production. Is able to demonstrate proper and consistent audience etiquette during live performances.

  • Can identify and compare characters and situations from two different stories or dramas that come from or are about different cultures (if given adequate exposure to such works). Recognizes and discusses how theater reflects different aspects of life (e.g., relationships, challenges, heritage, history). Begins to see why cultures create and take in dramatic productions.

  • Improves ability to use experiences from other disciplines (e.g., writing, discussion, movement, music, art, knowledge of history) to understand and interpret dramatic works.

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