This is the first in a series of articles designed to inspire families with easy art projects to do together at home. Share your family’s art on social media with our hashtag #okcfamilyart. We’ll share as many as we can via our social channels. We can’t wait to see the art you create together!
Creating beautiful, engaging, memorable art projects together with your children is easier than you’d expect! Making art at home is an enriching, educational experience for kids of any age, from toddlers to teenagers. Early learners practice skills they will use in elementary school like hand-eye coordination, dexterity and creative thinking. Big kids, middle-schoolers and teens find a medium for self-expression and mindfulness.
As funding for arts education in schools continues to suffer, or for families who homeschool or whose kids aren’t yet old enough for school, simple, low-cost and high-yield art-making opportunities can be incorporated into family life to enhance creativity and relationships.
Employ these simple strategies to help your child get the most out of the creative process:
– Process over product. Focus on the process of making art and exploring materials, rather than the end product. Remind your child there is no right or wrong way to make an art project. It’s about having fun and creating something new and unique. Not only does process over product facilitate greater creativity and independent thinking, it also alleviates the stress of replicating the project example. When you embrace the process over the product, your child is free to play with the materials and infuse their own voice and style in their art.
– Provide a variety of materials. Mix crayons, markers, colored pencils, watercolors and whatever else you have on hand in one bin. A varied collection of mark-making tools allows children to make artistic choices and experiment with types of lines and layering colors. For older children, introduce more sophisticated materials, such as crinkle-cut scissors, glitter and artist-quality sketching pencils and markers.
– Engage the senses. Augment your child’s sensory experiences and enhance brain development while making art:
- Mix spices or a few drops of essential oils into paint to add smell.
- Switch out paint brushes for cotton balls or sponges for new textures.
- Keep paint in the fridge to create a cold sensation when finger painting.
- Mix salt or sand into paint for a gritty texture.
- Whenever possible, encourage kids to get messy. Keeping baby wipes or paper towels on hand can help mitigate the mess.
– Use your words. Making art together is a deeply connective activity that facilitates conversation and bonding. It also provides a great opportunity to develop vocabulary and practice sharing thoughts and interpretations. Talk to your children about their creations, sources of inspiration and feelings. Ask open-ended questions like “What made you choose these colors?” or “What were you thinking about when you were drawing?”