Saturday, November 29, 2008

ARTSY FARTSY: art and kids

Before I traded in my steady paycheck and morning commute for the glamourous, play-doh scented life of a work-at-home mom, I was an art teacher. It was a great job; I got paid to hang out with kids and make stuff all day. Now that I am home with my own kiddos full time I still hang out with kids and make stuff all day, but nobody pays me for it.

Why might you care about any of this? Because I have 10 years of children's art activities filed away in my brain and you have kids that need something fun to do. Let's get those kids crafting, what do you say? If you guys are game for it, I'll make ARTSY FARTSY (making art with your kids) a frequent blog feature here. I'll share easy and fun art activities that will keep your kids happy and sneakily educate them (ssshhhh... they won't even know they are learning!).

Before diving headfirst into any projects let's get ready. This will all be way more fun if you get a little bit organized and prepared first. Here are the five things you need to become the most fun, artsy-fartsiest mom around:

1. A PLACE TO MAKE ART. If you are lucky enough to dedicate a spot to arts & crafts that is terrific. In our house, however, real estate is at a premium. Our dining room does double duty as the art room. The kids all sit around the big table and there is plenty of space for art stuff and to work without bumping into one another. If you only have one or two kids you might be able to get away with a folding card table. If at all possible, do not work in a room with carpeting.
2. A PLACE TO STORE MATERIALS. The inspiration to make stuff can strike suddenly so it helps to be ready to whip out art materials on demand. We're super artsy fartsy in this house, so we have devoted two big shelves in the hall closet to kids art supplies (my supplies are a different story and take up WAY more space). I keep everything in clear plastic bins. Like I said, we have lots of supplies so I have seperate bins for drawing/coloring, painting, collaging and play-doh. But you could be just as happy with one good size box full of stuff. If you don't have plastic bins a sturdy cardboard box works just as nicely.
3. ART STUFF. You don't need much to get started. Crayons, markers, washable paint, chunky brushes and paper are more than enough to get you creating. As we talk about different projects I'll share some of my favorite materials to collect for the kids. But the basics are enough to start with.
4. ARTISTS. All kids are artists. So are you. You just might not know it yet.
5. THE RIGHT ATTITUDE. Making art with your kids will only be fun if you accept a few things right from the start. First of all, understand that it will be messy (please note the picture of my youngest son at the start of this post). They will get paint in their hair and clay under their fingernails. The messier they get the more fun they probably had. Second, accept that most of the stuff they make won't be pretty. They will mix all the paint colors together to make a muddy brown mess. They will assemble sculptures upside down. It is okay; it is about the process not the product. Having fun and learning is way more important than making a pretty picture.

Are you still with me or did I lose you at "they'll get paint in their hair"? If you are still here, great! I'll have a fun art activity for you to do with your little ones later this week!


bobbinoggin said...

i'm with you. i'm with you. and eager to hear of projects compatible with a 3-yr-old.


Erin @ Bride Design said...

Yeah...another person waiting with baited breath for some good 3-4 year old projects. If you've got one where I can include a 2 year old too, I'm listening (and not afraid of a good mess). I'm game, I just get stumped for ideas.

Anonymous said...

Can I participate too? I am 30 with no kids...oh, but I have a dog.