Art is such an important activity for children. The main reason is because children get lost in the FUN of it. They tend to relax and focus while working on a piece, so creating art definitely supports a child’s emotional well-being, but it helps in other areas of development, too. Children expand their language by talking about their art and learning art terms. They strengthen their motor skills when holding a brush or kneading clay. They enhance their cognitive skills by mixing colors, painting shapes, and planning where and how to fill a blank space.
Despite the many benefits, we sometimes avoid providing art activities at home, because we think we’re not creative or we’re afraid of the mess.
As for not being creative, let me share what happened to me in one of the first art classes I ever taught. I let the children make the paint we would use for our project. One paint contained flour and salt; another used cornstarch. The children added food coloring to each. With music playing in the background and the children armed with brushes, thin and thick, they surrounded a canvas and began to create the masterpiece. I noticed immediately that something was wrong. No matter how much paint they used, none of it showed up on the canvas. It was as if the canvas sucked up all the color and left only the flour, salt, and cornstarch residue. As I frantically tried to make adjustments to the paint, the children continued dipping, smearing, and splattering. Our “masterpiece” looked as if someone vomited all over it, but the children didn’t care! They had the BEST time creating and were beaming with pride when we stopped. You see, children don’t care about the end product! They are all about the process. You don’t have to be an artist to provide creative experiences at home. All you have to do is put open-ended art materials on the table and let the process teach your children.
If you’re afraid of the mess, just put a sheet of Saran Wrap over the paint! The children will still get the benefits of moving the paint, color mixing, and filling the space without any of the mess! Does anyone have other tips that make it easy to provide art experiences at home?