Are you interested in doing art with your kiddos but are not sure where to start? Do you feel overwhelmed by the mess it will make or the supplies you have to store? I am happy to share my experience with you and how art is so meaningful for my kiddos and me as a mom.
Art, specifically painting and drawing have been an incredible outlet for creativity and self expression for both of my girls. There is nothing I love more than kid's art, especially when it's something they made themselves without the help of adult hands.
Just to prepare you, art with kids is messy. If you prepare your space and them for this then I am confident you will find it relaxing and fun and not stressful from a mess stand point.
How early should I start?
Everyone is different, but I introduced paint and paint pencils around 18 months. All you need is a blank sketchbook and either water colors or water color pencils. Water color is nice because it's pretty clean and easy to pick up. If you are concerned about anything I would recommend putting newspaper underneath the notepad. You can also use a kid's apron for them to wear or have them just wear their diaper. Then you can demonstrate with the brush or pencils on the paper so they can see how they work. They will see the color and I'm sure immediately be interested. Then you can let them explore on their own while you supervise.
What supplies do I need?
I would say get what you're comfortable with based on the space you have for storage. I would suggest starting with water colors, a paint brush pack, a blank notebook, and an apron. It doesn't take up much room and it makes for an easy project to get out and put away. When your kiddos become used to the art process and you feel like they are ready to add more, these make great additions:
- Acrylic Paints and Paint Trays
- Canvases, (you can re-use by painting white over them)
- Glue and glue sticks
- Stickers, Googly Eyes
- Construction Paper
- Tempura Paint Sticks
- Drawing pencils and colored pencils
- Model Magic, clay
I tend to avoid things like coloring books or the magic water paints. I really love to have them start with a blank canvas and see what they choose to draw or paint.
What are some inexpensive art options to explore with my kids?
The great outdoors is your best friend! Go on a nature hunt and see what treasures you can find. You could make a mosaic with pebbles, make a mobile with a stick and your nature treasures, paint with mud or using natural pigments from plants. You can use leaves to make etchings or to make a leaf collage, creating leaf people or creatures.
Recyclables are a great option too. I love using cardboard in art projects, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls etc.
Where do I get ideas on what to do?
Honestly the easiest thing is just to give them a blank canvas and see what they do with it. If you're looking for specific projects, pinterest is a great option. I would search "nature art" or "cardboard art" to get good projects that are creative and beautiful. I am not a big fan of "pinterest perfect" projects where it just looks like a parent prepared it. I love seeing kid's imagination and creativity come alive on the paper or in the project themselves. So I would keep in mind that this is their project and give them as minimal help as you can (that's probably the Montessori parent in me!). Those always make the best creations, I think.
Most importantly, have fun, don't stress, and enjoy the creativity! Think about ways you can explore art with your child in your life. Is there a gallery or art exhibit close by? Check out some art books from the library. Are there any murals in your town? Exposing kids to art and making them aware of artist's work can have such a profound impact in their lives!
I hope this was helpful to you and inspires you to do some art with your kiddos!