Why is it Important for Children to Create Art?
Creating things from our imagination is one of the most interesting and dynamic things we humans and individuals do. It’s a great way to express ourselves, our emotions, and to tell a story. Whether your children are painting or drawing, it’s about the message not the medium. Creating art hones fine motor skills, creates an awareness of visual aesthetics, builds colour sense, and so much more.
Here are a few art ideas to get you and your children creating.
And remember, it’s not about creating a perfect piece for kids, it’s about the adventure! So roll up your sleeves and roll out the plastic protective wear and have some fun!
These activities are just the beginning. There are more art activities on the It’s All Kid’s Play blog as well as Pinterest. And sometimes I share activities on Twitter, too!
Get out the Paint!
When you’ve got paint, you’ve got fun!
1. How about: paint in a paint book, colouring book, or do a paint-by-numbers.
2. Or: grab a blank piece of paper and paint your own picture.
3. For a little extra fun, try identical-sided paintings: Paint one half of a piece of paper and while the paint is still wet, fold the paper in half and press down. The paint from the one side is now on both sides of the paper. You can have a ton of fun with this making critters, pictures, or even a palidrome (words that can be read forwards and backwards like “mom” and “eye.” Some will work and some won’t!).
4. Bored of your paintbrush? Try a sponge and sponge paint! How about a toothbrush? What else can you use? Hairbrush? Comb? Leaves?
Get Messy!: Finger paint
Tempera paints or other water-based paints that are easy to wash off are good for finger painting. And maybe add a smock to that kid while you are at it.
Why let your face have all the fun? How about your hands and feet? Make sure you use gentle, water-based paints that come off easily, won’t hurt your skin and won’t stain! (You can also purchase special face paints.)
Let the rain do the painting for you!
Drop food colouring on a piece of cardboard or a paper plate. Place the cardboard or plate in the rain. The rain will splash the food colouring, making it spread as well as make the colours mix. When the picture is as mixed as you want, pull it inside and let it dry.
Hint: if it is raining hard, the rain will splash the food colouring–be careful, it stains clothes, the deck… etc. As well, it can make your painting sort of muddy with colours–light rain is the best.
Draw a Picture
Anything you want! Your family, your yard, things you love to do, your favourite characters. Bonus points if you pop it in the mail for Grandma and Grandpa.
Blind Contour and Upside Down Drawings
Pick something to draw that will stay still, like a chair, teddy bear, or flower. Without looking at the paper, draw the object. No peeking! How does it look? Could you do better if you were looking at the page?
Added challenge: Draw the object upside down. No, not you… the thing you are drawing! So the top of the flower will be at the bottom of your page and the stems or vase will be at the top! Can you do it? How does it look?
Try it again–but looking at the page. Does that help?
Don’t lift Your Pencil Drawings
Draw a picture of something without lifting your pencil off the paper. Find something you want to draw and start drawing. Once you place your pencil on the paper, do not lift it up again until you are done your drawing!
Illustrate your Favourite Story
It doesn’t matter if it has pictures already, create your own! Show the story the way you see it.
1. Trace your hands or feet by placing them on the paper and drawing around them. Watch out–it tickles!!! (P.S. There are some fabulous handprint and footprint craft ideas on my hands and feet craft board on Pinterest–turn your hands and feet into something else!)
2. Trace your body. You will probably need some help with this one plus a really big piece of paper (if you don’t have big paper, you can make some by taping pieces of newspaper together).
3. Don’t have paper? Trace yourself in the sand, packed snow, or on the sidewalk with chalk.
4. Trace a picture: Place a blank piece of paper over the picture you want to trace, then hold both of them against a window so light shows through the papers, making it easier to see the lines you are going to trace.
Use your toes!
Draw or paint using your toes by placing your pencil or paint brush between your toes. It’s harder than it looks!
Oil pastels (available in arts and craft stores) are great for older kids who are looking for an added challenge and like to make right, colourful drawings.
Colour in a Colouring Book
You can also print colouring pages off the internet. There are lots of great ones out there. Search for “Free colouring pages.”
Enter a Colouring Contest
Sometimes local drugstores and other businesses have free colouring contests for kids. Ask for an entry form (the picture to colour). Just think: Prizes!!
Colour Your Own Drawing
Do you have a drawing you could colour? Add some colour. 🙂
Draw on Birch Bark
Did you know birch bark makes great paper? You have to be careful when you pull bark off the tree so you do not kill or injure the tree. It is best to pull it off a dead tree or the thin bark that is already being naturally shed by the trees.
Draw on a Fungus
Fungi that grow on trees are great for drawing on when they are fresh (the part that faces down is white and soft when it is fresh and easy to draw on). In fact, you can draw with something sharp like a stick or your fingernail–you don’t even need a pencil! When it dries the ‘drawing’ will dry darker than the rest of the fungus’s face.
Make a Fist Puppet
Supplies needed to make a fist puppet: a fist and markers. Got it? Now, make a fist. Your thumb is going to be the bottom lip and chin of the face. The top knuckle of your pointer finger will be the top of the puppet’s head. You can make a face with pens or markers—just make sure they wash off with water! Move your thumb up and down to make your crazy puppet talk, sing, and burp.
Make an Imprint or Rubbing
How to make an imprint or rubbing of something using crayons and paper: Place a coin, leaf or another object under a piece of paper. Go over it with a crayon or pencil crayon to get the impression (bumps) of the coin. Cool! What else can you create an impression of? (Some adults make imprints/rubbings of headstones in cemeteries.)
Coffee Filter Flower
You will need: a white paper coffee filter, washable markers, a green pipe cleaner, scissors, spray bottle that can mist water, and two pieces of paper towel.
How to make a beautiful coffee filter flower (like shown above): Colour the filter with the markers. You don’t need to cover the whole filter with colour, but the more you colour, the brighter your flower will be. Hold the coloured filter over the paper towel (to catch any drips that might happen) and mist the filter with water (using the spray bottle). Make sure you get the whole filter wet (but not soaked). The marker’s colour should be a bit runny. Grasp the filter in the middle and give a little twist to make the center of the flower. Wrap the pipe cleaner around the twist to make a stem. Stand the flower up like a teepee to dry on a piece of paper towel. In about an hour, it should be dry.
In the photo above, I gathered three flowers together to make one, huge, colourful flower.
Calligraphy is a beautiful, fancy style of printing letters that uses special pens. You will need special calligraphy pens (found in most arts and crafts stores) as well as instructions on how to make the special letters.