How many of you are parents to little ones?
In the world of tv, internet and unlimited games and toys it is easy to give our kids the phone and let them watch mindless YouTube videos, just so we can get dinner on the table, or a load of laundry done. I understand, I do it too. And yes, I feel super guilty for melting her brain with tv shows, but sometimes that's the only way to survive a day.
Nonetheless, I do try my hardest to get her involved in art and creativity.
While they are still young, it's a good idea to expose them to different activities, whether that is dance, music, sports or arts.
For this post I will focus on painting, but you can apply these tips to any creative activity you choose for your child.
Toddler painting fun
Here is our little project from a couple weeks ago, she painted slime. Yup.
Turn off the tablet paint app and give them a REAL brush
Have you seen how many painting and drawing apps there are on tablets and phones? It's amazing kids even know how to hold a crayon. I've tried painting on a tablet, I tried doing my lettering on one and I just can not do it. It feels so fake to me, to be able to do a stroke over and over again, and erase and delete my mistakes just takes the creativity and skill out of art.
We should teach our kids that sometimes you draw outside the lines and you can't just click undo. And that once paint goes on paper it's there to stay. Life is real, we make mistakes, that's how we learn to get better, there is no delete or start over button.
Setup their art space
You can go out and purchase them a little art desk or easel, or just a little folding table (the cheaper option) and make it theirs. If they get it dirty while painting, well that just adds to the charm. If you don't want to spend any more than $5 just purchase a cheap party table cover to cover the surface and set up a temporary studio on the kitchen table or counter.
If you yourself do art at home then this should be no problem, any old paint brushes you have laying around, donate them to your kids, same with pallets and other supplies. Paints get a bit expensive and some are really dangerous when ingested so don't give those to your kids, especially if you know your kid is likely to eat paint.
Get them a cheap set of their own from the kids isle. The washable option is also a good idea in case of spills and stains.
If they are painting you can either purchase little canvases in bulk, they have those on sale mostly right before the start of a school year at your local art store, but of course any paper will do. Don't go spending a ton of money. You can even save some cardboard from a recent package and use that as a painting surface.
Prep the area
Let's not ruin the whole house while showing our kids that painting is fun. When setting up their space to paint make sure you have any valuable things nearby either covered or just moved away.
If you know your kid is likely to throw paint on walls then maybe give them crayons instead, or set up shop in the garage, or even outside when the weather is nice.
Just like furniture, protect you kids clothes, either get them a little apron or look for some clothes that are already stained and you were thinking of throwing away anyway.
I made that mistake too many times and now a few of her "nice" shirts have acrylic paint stains on them. Oh well, she'll grow out of them soon enough anyway.
Let THEM create
Once you're all setup and ready to let your little one create, the most important thing to remember is letting your child do the art. You can quickly show them how to use a brush or paint, but anything after that should be up to your child. Don't worry, they will have fun no matter what.
Respect their creativity
Be proud, no matter what it looks like
You may find yourself cringing as you watch your child paint a big brown blob. But remember that your child is the proud little artist, and all you have to do to encourage creativity is to be proud of them.
Ask your child what they painted, it many not be a blob at all, it may be a car or a cloud, maybe it's even you. See the video below, my daughter decided to paint "Green Slime". You can't blame a toddler for not having painting skills.
Just smile, give them hugs and kisses and tell them it's the best painting you've ever seen.
Hang their art on display
The best way to show your child how proud you are is to hang their art on display. But maybe you don't want a blob on your living room wall, that's what fridges were made for right? Find a space in the house where all their art is welcome.
I hung a painting my daughter did last year over her bed, and she still talks about, about how she did it all by herself. I am currently working on setting up space in her room just to display her little canvases, she can have her own little gallery wall.
Let them be proud and show it off no matter what they created.
A sneaky way to keep some control over the blob
If you get paint in tubes don't give them too many colors at once, when you mix many colors together you end up with brown.
My sneaky way to not end up with brown is to only give her 2-4 colors at a time. For this project (see video above), I gave her blue, yellow and white. That way when she mixed yellow and blue she got teal and adding white to any of the colors just lightened it up.
Blue, Yellow & White = Teal, blue, yellow and white, plus any shades of those depending on how much white is mixed.
Red, Yellow & White = Red, orange, yellow and white, plus any shades of those depending on how much white is mixed.
Green & Yellow = Different shades of green yellow or yellow-green.
Blue & Red = They will end up with blue, red and purple
More ways to have fun
Collaborate on a project
If your child doesn't mind painting with you, you can use this opportunity to do some parental bonding.
I tried this last year and we both loved it. It doesn't have to be anything special, just grab some paint and paper and as you paint, give your child a brush and let them add their own touch to it.
Your child may lose interest after a few minutes
Don't panic and don't get mad, if you keep pushing them they will only push in the opposite direction. Sometimes I want to get dinner ready and she wants to paint, I set her up on the counter in the kitchen but after 5 minutes of painting she says she's all done.
You can try to persuade your child to paint one more little painting or just take it as it is and let them go. Don't force creativity, instead, have a backup ready. If the painting is done, try to encourage your child to do some puzzles, not the ones on tablets. Real puzzles.
If your child is old enough, involve them in the dinner making or laundry doing. My daughter loves to help, yes I know, sometimes it's faster to just do it yourself and let them do something else, but the only way they learn chores is by helping you.
My daughters recent experiments
Little minds just want to explore
While they are little they want to explore everything, see everything and participate, why not use that time to fuel some creativity.
How do you involve your child in creativity?