Children + Creativity: Encouraging Art-Making

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This series is all about inspiring our children to bring more creativity into their everyday lives in a fun and simple way.  I'll be sharing the 'highs and lows' of our 'creative adventures' with our two boys, as well as simple suggestions for art-making projects,  enjoying nature and it's majesty, musings and research on the topic.

Yesterday morning was beautifully sunny and after our boys had played outside, fulfilled their 'must have' time on the XBox, done a little reading, music practice etc. they were at a loose end - if you're a parent or look after children, these are the moments you dread! Anyway, I was making lunch and couldn't just stop everything I was doing but also could see that the general mood of our family home was going to deteriorate rapidly if I didn't come up with something immediate and fun for them to do.

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.

Rachel Carson

Ta da!  In came 'The Watercolour' paints to the rescue!!!

I used a large watercolour pad, provided paper towel, water, stencil, brushes and of course paint...

However, for my 'sensory seeking' nearly 9 year old son, it was the straw, yep just your average straw that made all the difference to his experience.

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Oh and a water spray!

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Benjamin went on to have a great time with lots of blowing, sploshing, spraying and laughter.

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At the end of it all, there was quite a lot of splash 'fall out' [giggling] but what can I say, at least it was wipeable for the most part!

Tips for children painting

* Put away your expectations of a finished outcome and instead let your child get caught up in the joy of creating just for the fun of it. 

* Compliment with care - try to be 'real' in your appraisal and instead of saying that is 'fantastic' when you can't tell what's been painted, try to give an informed response ie. what beautiful shades of pink you've used etc. 

* Make things easy for yourself - keep clear up potential to a minimum if time is short.  However, get them to 'help' with set up and clear up - it's all part of the process.

* Allow them to display their work in a way that doesn't compromise you ie. not on your main living room wall if that's not an ideal place for you! Instead think of the fridge, a scrapbook, take a photo and display that or display in their room etc.

* Be prepared for some mess but try to not over-react where possible.

* Lastly, check out Jean from the Artful Parent for some amazing creative ideas.

So, simple fun and at least I manage to finish making lunch whilst hearing giggling instead of grumping and grunting to the tune of 'I've got nothing to do Mum!'.  Result!

Jane xo