Sunday, February 25, 2007

Children and the Arts

Encouraging creativity in your child

When I taught art to children, I was often asked, "What are the best art projects for children?" My answer was always the same. Put away the ready-made crafts and let your children make a mess! Give them plenty of opportunities to try new materials without having to make something perfect, or even recognizable for that matter. Experimentation and discovery are crucial to nurturing creativity. Here are a few ideas to start off:

1. Pick up some self-hardening clay at a craft store and practice rolling, pinching and shaping with your child. Follow child's lead by asking, "What do you think this shape looks like? What can we make with this?" After it dries, the clay can be painted and/or glazed with ModgePodge.

2. Save scraps of colored paper from junk mail, other art projects and wrapping paper. Have your child tear, cut and paste onto posterboard or cardboard to make a collage. They can also use fabric, small toys, cereal, whatever you can glue is fair game!

3. Try printmaking by having your child glue shapes onto a piece of foamcore or stiff cardboard (approx. 4x4" size). Paint the surface and before the paint dries, turn it over and press the image onto a piece of paper. Show the child how the image is backwards when printed.

4. Drawing games are fun for any age. Try this one: Make a scribble on a piece of paper. Hand the scribble to the person next to you. Each person has to make a drawing out of another person's scribble.

5. Re-using and recycling art materials to make new projects is a great way to encourage creativitiy. "What can we do with this?" is a favorite phrase in our house.

6. Statements like "Tell me about your artwork" are better than "What is it?" You'll be amazed at how your child can describe their work.

These are only a few of the many things you can do to incorporate art into your child's everyday life. For more ideas, go to:

ArtKids Rule
Make Stuff

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