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This article originally appeared on Moms by JOANNA MAZEWSKI

Children who are constantly doodling or drawing self-portraits during their spare time are not only expressing their artistic freedom or immortalizing themselves with their own work of art, but they are also learning a lot in the process, too. There’s a new study that says there are many benefits for elementary school-aged children who like to draw self-portraits as some education experts are calling it an eye-opening experience for kids.

According to The School Run, putting a pencil, pen or marker to paper has huge benefits to children who like to draw what they see in the mirror. Chief Executive of The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts Jeremy Newton says that there are several different reasons why it’s important for children to draw pictures of themselves and it’s not just because it’s an easy way to pass the time. A self “portraiture” is an introspective form of art that allows kids to learn more about themselves and their appearances.

Self-portraits also allow kids to think about their future aspirations, their career goals, and whom they want to be later in life. Newton explains, “By creating a self-portrait, children learn who they are, how they want to present themselves and what’s important to them. When creating a self-portrait, it’s important to encourage your child not just to think about who they are but whom they want to become.”

In addition, by drawing self-portrait children can also see all the different changes that appear as they grow, develop and mature into their teenage years and later into adulthood. Regular self-portraits allow children to document all these changes and give them a better understanding of who they are and how they’ve changed for that matter. Kids who draw have a better understanding of society’s views, values and the different appearances of other people. The biggest benefit to this is that it helps kids develop important values in life that include respecting others and being tolerant of their differences, where they come from or even their belief systems.

If that weren’t enough, the biggest benefit of drawing a self-portrait is that it’s fun. Many kids can agree that art never gets boring and it’s never out of style. It’s also one of the best creative outlets for children to participate or be involved in. Drawing portraits let kids develop self-confidence and create something for themselves without having to worry about what others may think or respond to them.

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