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This school year I’m struggling, struggling to keep my kids interested in art. I know, it doesn’t make sense because I’m the art teacher and advocate for anything creative. The thing is, a longer school day and after school activities have taken a sudden precedence. Where I used to draw and play with my children, I find myself now helping with math worksheets, and reading logs. We find ourselves rushing to complete homework, running to soccer games, and spending our Saturday afternoons at Greek school. Not to mention the evenings where I teach private art lessons. These are all activities we value in our family, but I’m sad that our time is not our own anymore. I used to say, “I will never over schedule my kids.” Still I find our family struggling to find balance in how we should organize our time. Do you feel the same way in your home?
I recognize there is no way to have it all, but I want to get our creative connection back on track. After doing a bit of soul-searching and researching, I’ve come up with five tips kids interested in art.
Five Tips to Keep Kids Engaged in Art
1. Make A Space
A sure-fire way to keep kids eager to make art, is to dedicate a creative zone. This could include, a corner at the kitchen table, a playroom, a closet nook, a section of the basement, or even a wall in the laundry room. Find a space that’s easy and represents your family’s lifestyle. A dedicated art space simply requires some organization and simple materials for your child to explore. Some of our favorite materials are high quality construction paper, metallic markers, watercolor paints, pipe cleaners, crayons, and colored pencils.
Take a look at some of my favorite organized art spaces.
2. Make Time
As a parent, it’s difficult to prioritize which activities take precedence over others. Some families may have one, two, four, or six children so activities outside the home require an extra financial burden and time commitment. With quick simple planning, a non “artsy” parent can definitely guide their child to keep art and creativity at the forefront of their their day.
Some of my favorite ideas include:
- Finding teachable moments throughout the day. For example, when driving in the car, notice the colors of the trees, the lines in the sky, what shapes are noticeable, are certain shapes bigger or smaller than others.
- Make list of simple art projects you would like to try with your children. Just remember, these projects don’t have have perfect endings.
- Maximize your time by accomplishing two things at once. For example, while you are cooking have the kids complete a simple drawing prompt. Even better, always keep a sketchbook and pencils in the car to use while one child is waiting for the other to finish an after school activity.
Check out even more time saving ideas in these links below:
3. Make it Playful
Art, creativity, and play all go hand in hand. These are extremely important attributes for child development, learning self confidence and developing problem solving skills. When children play, they are experimenting with the freedom to make choices they cannot otherwise make. They have to freedom to make mistakes and try again. Play is an integral part of learning to be human.
How can we make art making playful?
- Focus on creating process based projects or “invitations to create.” This is where you could set out a limited amount of materials on a tray and have your children create anything they desire.
- Create a scavenger hunt of materials. For example, have children go outside in nature and find materials to create a composition or sculpture.
- Make it fun and stress free. If your child doesn’t want to create or play, don’t force it. They will eventually come back to their process.
4. Make it Engaging
Sometimes art making goes to the wayside because there are too many distractions or kids may not be motivated. Try and find materials and projects that motivate and inspire your children. For example, my son loves to tinker and build. I recently gave him my old iBook with a couple of screwdrivers and he took the whole computer apart. He had a blast, was engaged, and learned what was inside the computer. The materials children use don’t have to be limited to paint, paper, markers, play dough, etc.. Find what inspires your child and go with it.
5. Make it Social
Art making doesn’t have to be a solitary event. In fact, kids have so much fun when they make art with their friends. They are able to express their feeling, exchange ideas, and play. My daughter loves to invite her little friend over where they draw on dozens of papers and then invite me over for their art show. It’s a huge production!
- Invite friends over for an art play date.
- Make art a family affair, create a family art project.
- Play art games with friends.
I hope that some of these tips will help your children continue on their creative path. If you have any constructive tips that you’d like to add, please leave a comment below.