And suddenly finding we need to make lesson plans and organize fun and creative things to do for our children.... Since the last time I wrote in my unofficial blog, we find ourselves on a quarantine with time away from school. There are certainly blessings about this time and life readjustment, and a world of resources to turn to for help.
One thing I find rewarding from a creative perspective is to do art projects with my children. But I haven’t always enjoyed the process. As an artist and a perfectionist type of sorts, I used to feel a lot more pressure to get involved and try to show or explain how things should be. “Why don’t you try this?” or “*it’s not supposed to look like that!” Suddenly, the process is not so much fun for any one.
On top of that, I have art supplies on hand (albeit many of them too costly to share and some of my paints are just not child friendly). That my friend, is a double-edged sword. I’ve learned its best to buy separate supplies: paints, brushes, and paper!
But then there is the pressure to come up with a picture perfect idea that would be ready for a Pinterest blog! I love Pinterest as much as the next person, but the perfection of some of those projects sometimes discourages us from getting in there and getting creative with our kiddos.
I want to share the secret of taking the pressure off.
The secret is... let them take the lead.
Let them choose their own art adventure because let’s face it, children are incredible, and talented artists. They are deeply in midst of a period of exploration so they have the ability to take what is literally trash (or recyclable) and turn it into children’s treasure.
I’ll give you an example. See this rocket below that my son came up with all on his own. Complete with a seatbelt, and rocket boosters, all made out of items found around the house. Including cardboard, lots and lots of cardboard. All he said was, I want to make a rocket. Go forth and prosper kid!!
Sure, it might get messy (choose your location and protective coverings wisely), but it will be fun. And they will learn a lot and be able to take ownership of their work.
So, when its time to do an art lesson, remember, it does not have to be extravagant. And keep in mind, you don’t need a whole lot to do a whole lot.
But what do you need?
Here’s a little unofficial supply list of art supplies and project ideas I’d keep on hand.
1. Construction paper, age-appropriate scissors, and glue. Oh the wonders you can do with these three items. Crafting a sweet paper dinosaur in conjunction with a lesson on dinosaurs, is an easy win! Cut up the paper to make collages! That’s always fun.
2. Modeling clay. Try Sculpey or even an air-dry clay like Crayola. This can be useful for capturing figure and toe prints. PlayDoh is always good too in a pinch.
3. Child-friendly paint and markers. And by that I mean WASHABLE and NON-TOXIC. But the paint surfaces are endless—we’ve painted wooden figures, canvas, paper, or cardboard. Keep all your markers, paints, papers, and other kid-friendly supplies in one central kid-friendly container and location that just screams, “go forth, be creative!”
4. Cardboard. Speaking of cardboard. Paper towel and toilet tissue rolls always take on a life of their own at my house. They make the perfect megaphones or spy glass, but children can always find creative uses for these types of materials.
And for certain there will be a part 2 to this post. This is such a rich subject and I have more thoughts and ideas! But what I thought to be useful for now is to remind us to just take the pressure off.
Often times, children need just a seed planted, just an idea. They can take it from there, and run with it!