I have found that it is often difficult to sit down with a child, lay out some art supplies and expect the child to fully engage unless he is one of those kids who naturally gravitates towards drawing and painting. Even my most creative child (who is also ADD) didn’t know what to do when I just set out art supplies. It was too daunting for him. So what can you do if you want to expose your kids to art and encourage creativity but they say they don’t like making art? Here are some tips:
- Designate an area in your home where you can regularly set out art invitations. These might be some unique art supplies that your child doesn’t usually come in contact with at school like liquid watercolors instead of the dry solid ones in the trays, some unique markers like the ones that have a brush on one end and a point on the other, or blow pens, which leads to the next tip….
- Think outside of the box: instead of setting out paints or colored pencils and some paper, create a unique experience that your kids will be excited to try, like graffiti on your walls, (well, big pieces of butcher paper taped up on your walls.)Get a roll or some big sheets of newsprint or butcher paper. Both relatively easy to find and inexpensive. Tape several big sheets to a wall using painter’s tape to protect your wall. Make sure the sheets are really large so that kids have lots of room for creativity and a huge margin for error! The absolutely coolest art supplies to give your kids for this are blow-pens! They are markers that kids blow in. They create a wonderful airbrush/spray paint effect like street artists use, only without the expense and toxicity. Make sure the markers you purchase are washable just in case. They are really bright and fun alone and also work well with stencils. You don’t need to purchase a kit with stencils though, encourage your kids to make their own out of cardboard or found objects. You could show them some photos of Banksy’s work to inspire them.
- Or tell your kids about Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It is actually a myth that he laid on his back while he painted, he stood on scaffoldings and painted the ceiling above his head, but it is still be fun to tape pieces of paper underneath a coffee table or desk and let your kids lay on the floor underneath them and draw on the paper with oil pastels!
- Ask your child to do a collaborative piece of art with you. Start with a piece of blank white paper, even printer paper, and 2 black markers like fine point Sharpies. You start by drawing a squiggly line or random shape, (like not a square or rectangle, something more free form.) Then ask your child to add to the drawing using his/her imagination, without discussing out loud what it might look like. Then it is your turn again. Keep alternating until you both feel like the drawing is done. Since neither one of you has to do the entire drawing, (just little bits at a time,) it isn’t nearly as scary or intimidating to draw. Hopefully you will laugh and have a good time together as your silly drawing evolves. Here is a very short video showing this process.
- Ask your child to doodle on some post it notes so that you will have a fun reminder of her/him at work or in your room or bathroom at home. Use square post it notes in bright colors and bright markers. Working on a little 3″ x 3″ paper takes the pressure off when drawing. Also, referring to it as a doodle implies that it doesn’t have to be a drawing of something specific and recognizable but can just be fun & colorful.
- Print out some photographs in a 5 x 7 or 8 x 10 size or rip some advertisements out of magazines and invite your kids to draw on them!
Of course we think that if you subscribe to our boxes, the variety of projects and different mediums will inspire even the most reluctant artists!