We all want our kids to be artists when they grow up. Yes, we want them to turn into fully actualized, fulfilled people who get to do what they love and get paid for it, like we (hopefully) do, but there will always be a little part of us that wishes happiness will stem from creating something (instead of checking someone’s taxes). But…we want them to choose art instead of having it unwantedly thrust upon them. Luckily there are ways to foster creativity in our homes without making it a chore for our children.
Make the supplies accessible and give them their own space:
Put them out and leave them out. Well, that sounds a little bit crazy. I know you’re thinking about that haircut your 5 year old is sure to give her baby brother but…letting them choose what kind of art they make with what supplies fosters creativity and giving them their own space to execute it in without fear of repercussion makes them more likely to be active artists; so let them have their way with the paint and the glue and yes even the glitter. (PS: This is not advised if you have a white couch, but if you have children living in your home buying a white couch is not advisable).
Integrate Art into Other Subjects:
Art can be a part of anything. Chemistry and geometry are two perfect examples of subjects we often consider quite far removed from our creative selves but which lend themselves to colors and shapes in a very similar fashion. Take the standard baking soda volcano and make it, dare I say, better by dyeing the vinegar different colors and give the minis eye droppers to administer the chemical reaction. Geometry is the study of patterns and how things fit together. Use different colors and patterns to get their brains working in two different modes at the same time.
Collaborate with them and let them collaborate with you:
Be the dad that does that hot glues the cardboard box puppet theater together or the mom who types up scripts for plays. Be the exacto knife wielder and the thrift shop searcher. Ask them what they think of what you do and why. Let your kids ruin or improve your art. Want a lesson in humbleness when it comes to our own creative endeavors and the power out children have to give them meaning? Check out this piece about a mom who accidentally let her four year old edit her sketches.
Point out Art in your Everyday life:
Even mundane places like the grocery store offer opportunities to teach our kids about colors, shapes, movement, and light. The produce section is the embodiment of the color wheel all spread out before you from the deep rich purple of an eggplant to the bright yellow of a perfectly ripe lemon. Point out street art or advertisements that are eloquent and beautiful. Make a comment about the motion blur of a passing bus or the swirl of leaves on the sidewalk as fall comes into fruition. Show your children how to see the world as a giant interconnected masterpiece.
Even if our kids turn out to be accountants or heaven forbid, rocket scientists, we’ll still love them just as much. We will show up and clap the loudest when the win the spelling bee or the science fair. We will listen to their excited stories revolving around quantum physics theorems. Even if they aren’t professional painters or the next Ansel Adams, supplying creative outlets and teaching them art appreciation enriches their lives, expands their minds and makes them more aware of the world around them.
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