So often we turn to Pinterest for ideas on what to do with our babies. That’s okay. That’s fine. I do it, too.
But … there’s more to life than crafts.
And there’s more to creativity than crafts. In most cases, crafting requires little to no creativity.
What’s the answer, then? How do we bring art to our children? I have ten ideas, in no particular order:
- Finger paint. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. I loved doing this when I was little, and I still use the technique in some of my artwork now.
- Chalk surfaces. We have an old coffee table that’s been repurposed with chalk paint. We also have several chalk boards. These are great ways to let Kingsley explore making marks without having a million pieces of paper around.
- Nature printing.
- Take photos together. Tie in the art aspect by talking about things like the colors and shapes in the photos.
- Show him or her artwork. When Kingsley was five days old, he came home. That night, I started to show him the paintings in his bedroom. Could he really see them? No, not really. Did he know what they were? Nope. But, by introducing these and continuously showing him the art, he started to show signs of interest and he was drawn to certain paintings as time went on, most likely based on the level of contrast in the artwork on the walls. We still spend time looking at art, photographs and exploring the pictures in books as pieces of art.
- Read picture books. They have so many beautiful pieces of art, that they are really very affordable art galleries. Talk about this.
- Play dough. Whether it’s the brand name stuff, or the home made stuff, digging into this is fun, not permanent, and stimulates so much thinking, problem solving, creative form making, and more.
- Keep a Kid Sketch Book nearby. Kingsley loves my sketch books. He loves them so much that I have stopped using one of them as my own and let him scribble in it while I draw. Usually, we do this simultaneously and he sits on my lap. I talk to him about what I am doing, and I identify what he is doing.
- Craft. WHAT!?!?! No, I’m not talking about the garbage that you see on Pinterest, that is pre-determined. I mean, find a bunch of craft supplies, and let them go to town. Kingsley isn’t there yet, but I am certain that we’re not far away from crafting creatively.
- Color Code. This is a common play-based kindergarten approach, and it’s fabulous for a reason. Pick a colour, and then go on a hunt (WITH the kid, of course) for items that are this color. Create a 3D collage or even just a collection of all of these items that are the same color. If you make a collage, glue it together and put it up for a bit! If you make a collection (because you aren’t into gluing the table cloth onto a poster board), then take a photo, have it printed and add it an album of color collections!
Challenge your kid to be the person who creates the crafts, rather than the person who just makes their own version of the craft they saw a picture of.
You don’t need to limit ART to just crafts, or to just making. It’s about consumption and exposure as much as it is about creating.