Published Date: 03/19/19
Not everyone is a Pinterest mom, but that doesn't mean you can't be creative with your little artist. The benefits of arts & crafts are significant - they help improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, promote innovation, creativity and boost self-esteem.
While it’s tempting to direct your child’s project, your role should be to guide and encourage their exploration. The creative process is an experience. Even if the project doesn’t turn out to be “beautiful,” the process is important for childrens’ growth.
To get you started, we've put together some great tips. Roll up your sleeves, grab your aprons, and have fun!
Paint an older pair of sneakers or jeans! You can also use household furniture or items like a dresser, clock, or pillow and have kids repurpose them. These can make really cool art pieces!
This gives kids freedom to make a mess without parents stressing about the mess. You can work on the grass or at a picnic table and cover it with a plastic tarp.
Outdoor art activities:
- Paint old furniture or cardboard boxes. Stencils are an easy way to layer interesting designs that don't entail too much technical skill.
- Add food coloring to bubbles and blow on paper to make beautiful bubble designs when they burst.
- "Paint" with big brushes and water buckets on the pavement.
Art materials don't have to cost much
There are so many materials around the house! Cut cardboard boxes to make shadow box art, wall hangings, or handmade bookmarks. Make salt dough with flour, salt, and water. Also, the dollar stores are great for craft items, like pom-poms, glitter, Play-Doh, and more!
Use a variety of materials
Making art is about the process, not the product. It is fun and educational to experiment with different materials and see how they interact with each other. I recommend having a mix of materials in clear containers, so they are visually accessible for children to use.
Mixed media ideas:
- Mix salt and glue together and drizzle on paper. Paint over with watercolor and watch the paint saturate the glue design.
- Make a design with painter's tape on paper or canvas. Paint over and peel off tape to create a cool, abstract design.
- Draw with oil pastels or crayons on paper and paint over with watercolor and see the drawing appear against the watercolor. This "resist technique" creates a beautiful mixed media effect.
Art is about the process
It's okay for kids to deviate from the parameters of a project sometimes. It allows for self-expression. And art doesn't have to look amazing in order for it to be a "success." It's a process of experimentation. The more you make the more you learn!
About the Author
Julie Orr is the owner of Art Lessons LA, a luxury art school based in Los Angeles. Art Lessons LA builds personalized curriculum and brings a “pop-up art studio” to the client. For events, Art Lessons LA creates engaging projects for guests based on a particular theme, adding a unique element to the occasion.