Jan 19, 2015

Nurturing Your Child’s Inner Artist

As a creative person who places artistic expression as a high priority, raising children who feel comfortable embracing their "inner artist" is extremely important to me. I am certain (and science supports my belief) that embracing creativity is an essential part of a child's education and overall well-being. Philosophy is great, but what are some practical ways we can help nurture the inner artist in our child?

Use recycled materials to create. 

Teach children to be thoughtful about the materials they use to create. Encourage them to choose materials such as cereal box cardboard, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons and paper bags for art projects. These materials are also very accessible and easy to keep on hand.

Keep it simple. 

When you limit the supplies you have on hand and keep it simple, you encourage greater innovation by asking the children to make something using only what they have available to them. Also, using the most basic materials for art projects encourages creativity more than purchasing a pre-made "asemble-me" kit at the craft store. For example,  if you ask a child to make a robot only using aluminum foil, glue and toilet paper rolls, you will be amazed at the creative magic that will happen!

Keep supplies within reach.

I know the thought of this may seem stressful to some parents, but if you can make a selection of supplies accessible to children (like paper and crayons) you will encourage a more vigorous "do-it-yourself" attitude. This is an essential thing to cultivate in any young artist. Store these specific supplies in a location they can access easily so that when the creative mood strikes them, they can get to it!

Make art together. 

Spending time as a creative unit with our kids really encourages an artistic atmosphere. I often craft an adult version of something the kids are making which makes it fun for me and inspirational for them. Recently, we made necklaces out of egg cartons which we painted and cut into flower shapes. These were a huge hit and this project was a great art activity for a wide range of ages!

Let creative freedom ring!

As a parent, it's a hard thing to let go of the control since it's our job to make sure things run safely and smoothly. When it comes to arts and crafts, however, you really have to just "let it happen". Establish some age-appropriate ground rules (like no intentional paint splattering on the floor) and then back away and let your artist embrace their creative side. Also, giving fewer prompts usually creates a less inhibited environment for little artists. The more freedom of expression you offer in the process, the more inspiration will be discovered.

For more great tips, tools and ideas for parents, head over to the National Education Association website, a great resource for student success!

 “This post reflects a collaboration with the National Education Association’s Raise Your Hand for Student Success campaign. All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own.”
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