Today I want to discuss making art with your kids. If you don’t have kids, this can totally apply to your nieces, nephews, cousins, neighbors or yourself for that matter. Art is something that is timeless, but at the same time it pauses time. I have paintings my boys did when they were 4 and 5, they are of a zebra and a penguin, these paintings allow me to go back to the time in which they were created. A time when my boys were obsessed with penguins and zebras. Its a beautiful thing.
I want to start with the most important point, display their art. No matter the outcome. It does amazing things for a kids self confidence to see something they made displayed with such importance. We have a hall in our house that is only kids artwork. Its 10 years worth of paintings that I cherish, and they still enjoy seeing. Several times a week my 2 year old points to her most recent painting and says,”That’s mine. I love it.” You can’t put a price on that. Plus, its a beautiful boost of color that you just can’t get with photographs and it is extremely cost effective. My older two girls love to paint on large pieces of cardboard and that’s almost free. You can’t beat free.
Tip number one is to always have supplies on hand. I always have a spare canvas or two (or 10) laying around. Michael’s often offers 10 8×10 canvases for $20. Now they are not gallery quality but they are nice enough to hang on your wall PLUS they capture a moment in time. That’s the point. I also keep a wide variety of acrylic paint on hand. You can always find these on sale as well. Now, don’t be afraid to let your kids paint with acrylic, it washes off the skin easily, not so much the clothes or furniture though. Often we will do this outside but just as often we will do it in the dining room with old t-shirts and a cheap table cloth. The color acrylics provide is worth the mess. I also keep large pieces of cardboard, plastic, wood and anything else i think they could paint on. Its worth taking a second look at things you might otherwise throw away, you might be surprised.
Here is a tip for keeping toddlers from turning everything brown. I give them 2 or 3 colors that are adjacent on the color wheel, like pink and orange or yellow, green, and blue. This gives a nice blend of color without the chance of a muddy mess. When several kids are painting and you want a cohesive look, give them a range of 5 colors or so then no matter what they paint, it will go together.
Another fun way to make art with your kids is with scraps of fabric you have laying around. Because everyone has scraps laying around, right? It can be anything from clothes that don’t fit or are stained, to old sheets or curtains. I had a box of quilting scraps I kept around. I had my girls sort them in color order then tie them on a string. That’s it. It kept them busy for 2 hours and then they had a really unique fabric wall hanging for their room. (The picture on the left was done by my 2 year old using only orange and pink paint)
The last project I have for you is using blank canvases and photos. I had these 24 prints from Instagram printed off using Snapstagram. I gave my kids the prints and the canvases (which they painted grey) and said see what you come up with. It cost me $15 and gave them an awesome outlet to create something great for our home.
Last thought, never underestimate the power of creating art, and what it can do for a kid. It builds their confidence and allows them to work through all sorts of emotions in a healthy way. Art is vitally important in every kids life, so go ahead, take a little time and money and invest in the kids in your life. By the way, if you think you are not creative, do a google search for ideas and create with them. The point isn’t to create a masterpiece, its simply to create.