It is said that we are all born artists. I tend to disagree, since for as long as I can remember, my circles look like squares and my flowers look like scribbles. Most of my life I have struggled (I admit it) to draw or sketch or paint that beautiful picture. Yet, I refuse to give up! I love art and all that is a part of it; the history and the ability to express yourself, especially in those times when you just seem unable to find the words. Art is about exploring and expanding your perspective. I believe these are powerful tools for all of us to have, especially our children.
What better way can we teach our children the value of expressing themselves? How else can we encourage them to be okay with “different”?
I know all too well how challenging it can be to find the time to encourage and make time to create. After all, we have math and science, writing and reading, but I believe there are some great benefits to making the time for art class! I hope that the following tips will be helpful if you are struggling to make the time, let’s make an artist together!
- Keep your Art Supplies Stocked – We try to keep a drawer full of various art supplies. All washable and inexpensive so that the kids feel free to help themselves when they feel the desire to get creative. We keep lots of paper there, kid scissors, washable paints, sketch pads, construction paper, pipe cleaners, and a variety of random materials the kids like to have on hand (google eyes, pom moms, scraps of fabric, scrapbook materials, etc.).
- Make a Date – In our home, at least once a week it is art time, no excuses. We have videos my oldest son likes to watch that help him learn how to draw different things and we also have a collection of books on art that teach about artists, different forms of art and ideas to spark creativity. It can be fun to pick an artist or a style for each week to see what you can learn; about abstract art, Georgia O’Keefe, cubism, modern art, or a topic like dragons in art through the ages. It is amazing how far you can go with any of these topics in art class.
- Keep Your Eyes Peeled – There is always something new and exciting out there, so be sure to keep your eyes out for it. Enlist your kids help in keeping watch too. For instance, last summer we got this awesome kit from our dear “daughter” on exchange from France, an airbrush painter for outside! We definitely will be keeping this tool handy because all three of the kids had a blast. We even found a recipe for it that we plan to try this summer because what is more fun than making your own spray chalk?
- Watch tutorials – My oldest took some great classes last summer at an art studio near our house and it turns out that they have a great collection of videos we can watch at home to help encourage those skills he learned outside of a formal class. He really loves using Young Rembrandts to learn how to draw all kinds of neat things and he also likes My How To Draw. I like that he looks for things that challenge him artistically too. I also tend to throw in some videos from the Art for Kids Hub.
- Get Outside – It is not that easy for us right now here in Wisconsin, but when the weather is right it is great to send them outside. We have a basket full of chalk, bubbles, airbrush paint and spray bottles that they can fill with their own colorful paints. We also have an easel that we move outdoors now and then so that they can paint or sketch outdoors if they’d like. We stumbled across these ideas for garden art recently and it is on our list of things to try this summer.
- Try New Mediums – There are so many methods and forms of art out there, why not try making models, sculpturing with clay, paper mache, origami, painting and drawing, pottery, photography, woodworking, weaving and crocheting. These are all wonderful and fun things to try for art class. My five year old son has taken to woodworking! He is currently drawing plans for a tree house, he loves to be able to build things that he designs with woodworking!
- Don’t Stress about that Mess – This is so much easier said than done, I know. Yet, if we can encourage our children to slow down and if we can show them that it is okay to get our hands dirty, there are some amazing creations that can be born! Plus there are lots of great lessons that they can learn too; like responsibility when they need to clean up after themselves when they are done! It may help to find some big white t-shirts or some kids aprons and let them go wild with those, then the mess is their own creation and they can wear when they work on creating art!
- Music – We can always include some good tunes in art time. I love classical music and even audio books at times during art class. Depending on what you turn on and the kids, it could go either way though. I have to say some days that soothing music somehow wakes the crazies in my kids.
- Create with the Kids – Nothing is better than your kids getting to see you getting in on the action during art class. This doesn’t happen as often as I would like right now in our home, but more often than not I like to be a part of whatever craft we are doing. It helps us to slow down, relax and enjoy creating, what a great example this is for our kids too!
- Don’t Criticize – This is a tough one too for many of us, to simply enjoy art time. Make sure your kids know that it is okay, in fact encourage, their creations to be different. We want to encourage our kids to express themselves freely and be sure to ask them questions too, it can a great time to talk about their choice of colors, their design, etc.
Enjoy your time with your children. Take your time as you create and try to do it together (even the littlest hands can get in on the action). Trust that the creation itself is a wonderful lesson and be assured, these moments are not wasted.
How do you help create an artist in your children?