Engaging Children with ART
Updated: Jan 20
Do you have a child or children in your life? Have you thought of doing art with them? How do you do this?
Children often have the most fertile and active imaginations. Making art for them is another way to play. It gives form to the things they imagine and enjoy watching color and shape appear on the page. They are often proud of what they create and want to show you, or they may enjoy collaborating with you, especially if the drawings are funny and make them laugh. If they are experiencing difficulty in any way, it is often a great way for them to process and express what can't be said in words.
Creating a mini art space is a good way to encourage art making. Leave available some basic art tools, like markers, pastels and a basic water color kit. You can introduce art by trying out the colors together. Be interested in their drawings and paintings, and try to stay away from judgments. This includes saying that it is "good," and you will probably notice how strongly you desire to validate them that way. If everything they do has to be "good" to please you, it will cut off their need to let off steam or express visually something challenging for them. They may also get into comparisons if they are drawing with others. One of the most promising young artists I worked with stopped creating art all together because one of his peers got all the praises. It is best that you ask questions that allow them to tell you what is happening or who the characters are.
I have worked with adults for over a decade and have heard multiple stories of how their capacity to make art was shut down as a child. This came from teachers the most, especially art teachers, and occasionally from a parent or sibling. Our goal can be to encourage them, foster their curiosity in what is possible and give them a safe space to enjoy themselves creatively and artistically.