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03/06/2011


The Good Coach :: Introducing Art to Your Children by Shona Cole


:: The Good Coach ::
Introducing Art to Your Children
by Shona Cole

Shona Cole
It is one of my privileges as a mom to introduce my children to the world of art. In addition to giving them a voice and a sense of purpose, art also brings them developmental benefits:

  • motor skills – using pencils and brushes, needle and fabric, a camera, words
  • cognitive skills – the understanding of color, composition, light, and texture, choices in creativity
  • social skills – building of self esteem, joy and pride in the act of creativity & product of creation, interacting with those around them – the art teacher, siblings, you, friends they may craft with
  • self awareness – becoming more aware of their own likes and dislikes, the limits of their abilities, style of decision making and so on.

As an artistic mother you have a unique opportunity to create an artistic environment for your family and to actively bring them to the art world you love so much. You can supply the space, the supplies and the encouragement they need. You can also model the creative life by your own artistic practices, your décor choices and your encouragement of their creative minds.

Here are some ideas that benefitted my artistic mother walk:

Reading about the arts!

Shona Cole

There are hundreds of great art related books to read with your kids. Here are some of my favorites. Buy a few of them and read them together regularly. 

KIDS 6 AND UNDER

KIDS 10 & UNDER

OLDER KIDS

Go on art field trips as a family!
If you live within 50 miles of a city, then you can find local art shows or art museums where you can bring your kids to see real art. Talk to your kids about what you see: the colors, shapes, concepts.  Ask them what they liked best, why and how they could make something similar at home. Local art fairs are a good place to see crafts and to talk with other artists.

You can also expand their vision of the world by taking them to the theatre and the ballet.  With practice (and patience), by the time a child is 6 they can sit quietly through a show.  Just remember to bring snacks for the intermission.

So search out a museum, a fair or a show online today. Pick out some dates and buy some tickets. It will enrich your life.

Shona Cole
Create art ...
You can also encourage your children by simply providing them the supplies and the physical space that allows them to discover art on their own.

If you have the funds, consider sending your kids to art camp or classes.

... together
The most powerful tip I have is for you to do art projects alongside your children. You can work on the same project at the same time, or each of you can work on individual projects.  Either way will greatly benefit your children and be valuable art time for you too.

You don’t have to just do child-friendly crafts. Since you will be working alongside them, consider challenging them a little by doing more advanced artistic work together with them.  And remember:  your art supplies are not precious. Share them with your kids.

Mixed media, jewelry making, sewing, photography, sketching and poetry writing are all great places to start. If your daughter is beading a necklace, get out the nice beads in your stash to share with her and make one too. If your son is making a thank you card, then share the ink and make one too. If your kids are painting, then don’t just hover, suggest and praise, paint too.

Of course there are differences in the quality of work that you will get done depending on the age of your kids. When your kids are small, they will need more hands on help from you. Their constant chatter and questions will interrupt your train of thought and limit your ability. Before this frustrates you, remember you are introducing them to the creative process.

Why not include a regular family "art time" in your weekly schedule? Perhaps every Saturday morning make it ‘art morning’ at your house! It can become a very sweet bonding time for your family. Here are some excellent books for parents and kids to do together:

Here are some ideas of some artistic things you can do with your kids:

 Shona Cole is artist and author of The Artistic Mother. Visit http://shonastudio.blogspot.com/.

Comments

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Thank you for all the suggestions. I especially love your list of books (added to my amazon) and having a regular "art day" or set time. I always try to do creative activities with my daughter, but I think we would both benefit from a bit of organization and scheduling. :)

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