Simple and Fun Ways to Get Artsy with Kids

Published on 15 May 2018

By: Shireen Netto

An observational watercolour painting of the Koi pond.

 

“Every child is an artist.” – Pablo Picasso”

You may not have realised it, but from the earliest moments, your child has probably been exposed to the arts. From the time they are born, we sing songs and dance and move with them. We show them pictures in books and point out colours, patterns and shapes.

The wonder of finding a new way of communicating and discovering the world is one of the most exciting revelations that a child can make. Children need encouragement and guidance in making these discoveries and this is where we, as parent-educators, step in to play our role.

Relish and revel in the experiences that the arts have to offer; don’t feel intimidated or pressured to have things a certain way or make sure everything is perfect. The best experiences are enjoyed in the most natural and relaxed setting. Most importantly – have fun!

VISUAL ARTS

Drawing her own image using the mirror as reference.

 

Visual art experiences help children develop skills such as self-expression, imagination, creativity and collaboration.

A simple art space set-up with buckets of colour pencils, crayons, markers, tape, glue, scissors and glue-sticks.

 

SETTING UP A DEDICATED ART CORNER

It doesn’t have to be a fancy or expensive set-up. All that’s required is a small space for a table and chair for your child to work at.

Lots of materials for creative play!

 

UNLIMITED ACCESS TO OPEN-ENDED ART MATERIALS:

These may include different types of paper, crayons, markers, washable paints, modelling clay, chalk, collage materials, glue and scissors. Show your child how to use each art medium and then let your child create and explore freely! It’s the process of creating that young children learn from, not the end product.

Using Gouache paints to emulate the Monet “Water Lilies” painting.

 

Change it up!

Use paper, scissors, coloured tape, paints, stickers, crayons, coloured pens, fabric, sequins, markers, paintbrushes, ice-cream sticks, modelling clay and stamps to inspire the little ones. Refresh materials by swapping them out for new art mediums on a monthly basis.

DANCE

Learning the moves from an online video tutorial session.

 

Children love to move and dance! The desire to move in harmony with music comes naturally to them. There isn’t a right or wrong way to move; the appreciation of dance is merely a means to convey a message with our bodies.

 

PROVIDING A TIME AND PLACE FOR MOVEMENT

Try dedicating a specific day (like Friday Funyay!) where your child can feel free to move. Put on your favourite tune or turn on the radio and just move to the rhythm of the music: clapping, marching, rocking, hopping, swaying, tapping.

For a more structured approach, you could also put on your favourite exercise videos or dance tutorials to dance along to! Here are some simple dance tutorials that you could check out on YouTube:

MUSIC

 

A child’s world is filled with innumerable musical moments. From the sounds of a lullaby before bedtime to the catchy songs that accompany a favourite television show, children experience and respond to music with joy.

Making music at the Marine Cove Playground at East Coast Park.

 

EXPLORATION OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

Set up a music shelf in the room and place on it a variety of musical instruments such as bells, a xylophone, a keyboard, drums, maracas, a ukulele, a flute and slide whistles.

Reading nursery rhymes before bedtime.

 

READING & SINGING NURSERY RHYMES

Nursery rhymes are so much fun and full of repetition and rhythm. Introducing children to a variety of nursery rhymes can help them understand and learn about different words, rhythms, and sounds. Add musical instruments to make a beat or clap to the rhythm of the song as they sing. They can even use the tune of the nursery rhyme to make up their own songs!

DRAMATIC PLAY

Playing Doctor.

 

Children love to pretend, whether it’s mimicking things they see in everyday life or recreating familiar roles and events. In one instance, they could be a supervillain, and in the next, a chef preparing a meal.

Superheroes away!

 

ENGAGING IN DRAMATIC PLAY EXPERIENCES WITH YOUR CHILD

Children naturally gravitate towards dramatic play, so it’s easy to encourage children to play and to be imaginative. Your child might decide to be a shopkeeper, and ask you to take on the role of the customer. Engage your child and help to support the theme of the play with simple questions such as “Do you have this hat in red?” or “How much do these shoes cost?”

A birthday gift – A NASA astronaut helmet.

 

SETTING UP A DRESS-UP BOX

Look through your cupboard and you’ll be sure to find old outfits that could be repurposed as dress-up costumes for the kids. Some staple items include belts, shirts, ties, scarves, old necklaces, bags and sunglasses. Expand your dress-up box by introducing capes, tiaras, wands, masks and hats from parties. If you’re missing an item, just make a trip to your local thrift store!

The arts are valuable in young children’s lives and an integral part of life in culture and society. For these reasons, it is important that we as parent-educators expose our children to a myriad of art experiences. Allow your child that sense of ownership and control in the process. Let them be the transformation and change so that the process is not dictatorial, with pre-planned outcomes. It’s important to remember that with art, it’s the journey that matters more than the outcome.

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