The Importance Of Art: Encourage Your Kids To Create
“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” –Pablo Picasso
Encourage your children to create visual art! Creating a safe environment for your children to use their imagination and to paint, draw, sculpt, or color is one of the best things a parent can do. Not only are these activities sans screens, but children who are encouraged to create art have an outlet that is healthy and productive.
Instead of simply reading books about art or artists, the best way to encourage your children to create is to actually look at works of art. If you cannot go to a museum, the second best thing is to get big coffee table books filled with art and look at them with your kids. Ask them about their favorites and what catches their eye; this will stimulate wonderful conversations about detail and storytelling. This is a great way to spend a day indoors or, if you’re feeling adventurous, take your art books outside!
- Show your children the work of Picasso, Matisse, Manet, Monet, etc.
- FYI: Taschen publishes fantastic art books.
- Claude Monet’s series of Impressionist oil paintings, “Water Lilies,” are accessible for kids because the subject matter is so recognizable and pleasing to the eye.
- Marc Chagall’s fantastical paintings (such as “The Promenade,” 1917) look like something out of a fairytale, which usually appeals to children. It’s crucial to encourage whimsy during childhood and to tell stories that are magical. As you can see below, many of Chagall’s paintings depict people in flight without any sort of explanation.
- Paul Cezanne is another example of a wonderful artist to study: His still lifes of apples are wonderful for children because they can try their hand at creating their very own painting using whatever fruit happens to be available.
- Jackson Pollock’s paintings are abstract masterpieces but, to children, they may look like just a bunch of splatter and drippings. If you have the space, you can get some big pieces of white paper, spread them out onto the floor, and—voila—you have a canvas! Painting this way is less restrictive than with an easel, and your kids can let their imagination run wild. One can use brushes or can simply fling or even pour paint. Finger painting is also lots of fun!
Study the classical as well as modernist works. One of the first things we see as babies is a mobile hanging above our crib; this immediately reminds the art lover of American sculptor Alexander Calder and his extraordinary works. Creating your own mobile is a cool and creative hands-on activity! The best part is that you can use whatever materials you want.