For the longest time, I desired to be that Pinterest mom. You know, the ones who make those gorgeous craft projects daily. I wanted to have the perfect themed crafts for my kids every single day so that our walls would be filled with themed crafty goodness. I’m thinking of the popsicle stick and paper crafts that I remember from my childhood. The holiday crafts and handprints that are so stinking cute.
But I’m not the Pinterest mom. And as much as I would love to have the energy to organize and come up with new craft ideas daily, I don’t. And that’s okay. But I don’t let it stop me from creating art with my kids (almost) every day.
I’m an artist. I’m a photographer and a semi-okay watercolor painter (in training). I’ve always loved art and it’s taken me the good part of 19 years since I graduated high school to start to embrace this part of me again. When you get told enough times that art is not a viable endeavor, you put it on the back burner to pursue other things. Or at least I did. I’ve been taking photos for a long time, but it’s taken me a lot longer to pick up a brush again. I have YouTube and artists like Sara Cray from Let’s Make Art to thank for giving me tutorials to help me develop my watercolor skills again.
But this post is less about me and more about the natural creative tendencies that are in children. Have you ever sat back to watch them? If you give kids tools like paper, scissors, markers, and glue, they create some amazing things. So, we do art in our house almost daily. I don’t plan a craft. I offer coloring books, paper, pens, paint, and I let my kids and their imaginations rule.
Sometimes I get stacks of paper glued together. Sometimes I get rainbow mosaics and a creature that is supposed to be a unicorn.
I help if they ask. I’ll draw something on their papers if they ask. I’ll even help them paint or color a section if they ask. But I don’t try and do it my way. I let their art become whatever they imagine. And I always tell them how beautiful their artwork is. Because that’s what they need. They don’t need me to tell them that their unicorn looks more like a monster with one eye. They don’t need me to tell them their circle isn’t perfectly round. They need to know that what they imagined and created is beautiful.
As they develop their skills, I know they will get better at creating what they imagine. I know their painting and drawing will become more precise.
Art doesn’t need to be complicated. Art doesn’t need to be planned. Art can be the simple act of creating an image on a piece of paper. Use markers. Use crayons. Use paint. But if you’re anything like me, just do it. And do it daily. Kids are natural artists. And if you give them the tools, they’ll each create something amazing.
This coming school year I plan to teach them a few art skills. We’ll eventually get into some technical projects for perspective and color and lines. And after I teach them the skill, I’ll sit back and watch them put it into practice. I don’t want to stifle their creativity. I’m here to guide them, teach them, and help them refine their skills.
So, what about you? What does art look like in your house? If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, start with markers (or crayons or colored pencils) and paper, and see what your kids put on paper.