Enrich Your Child's Life with Art

By: Erika Paine


Open your child's eyes to the world of art. Art is one of the most crucial building blocks for your child's mental development. As one of the few activities that engage both lobes of the brain, artistic activities improve a wide range of skills including patience, attention to detail, focus, creativity, and self-esteem. Children who enroll in art classes and consistently engage in artistic expression of some sort perform better on standardized tests, win more awards in math, science, and English, and are four times more likely to be elected to class office. Art also serves to calm down and discipline hyper children and improve the mental state of traumatized children.

Unfortunately, this fundamental component of development is often overlooked. It is the first program to disappear in schools and often one of the last activities parents suggest to their children. Most people think museum masterpieces are the only art outside of crayons, coloring books, and markers, but there are several artistic activities you can try with your children.

" Basic Art Projects: For younger children, this is an excellent way to spark interest. Give them an art set and toy easel with a pad of paper. This will encourage them to create unique works of art, not bounded by someone else's lines. Familiarize your child with different mediums like crayons, markers, water colors, colored pencils, and anything else offered in the basic art kit. You can also provide sculpting putty or clay, and create fun art projects with random objects around the house (Popsicle stick picture frames, magnets, etc.).

" Canvas and Paint: For older children, who no longer find crayons appealing, a more sophisticated art kit and actual artist's easel is a much more appropriate option. Provide canvas and plenty of paper. Explore mediums like water color, paints, pens, pencils, oils, pastels, and charcoals. Experiment with various applications from basic painting and drawing to airbrushing and cartooning. This allows your child to decide which avenues he or she enjoys most and wants to pursue further.

" Design: Scrapbooking, making collages, and even creating mosaics are excellent ways to sharpen your child's eye toward design and layout. With scrapbooking and collages they can compile memories to be treasured forever. Mosaics are fun and stylish ways to decorate anything from keepsake boxes to table tops. You can also teach older children with steady hands how to carve linoleum tiles to create rustic-looking keepsakes, furniture, and murals. For children who do not latch on to more traditional art forms like painting and sculpting, designing keepsakes is a very enjoyable alternative that fosters the same skills.

" Sculpting: Play-dough just does not cut it for budding artists. Provide actual sculpting clay and carving tools for your child. If he or she wants to attempt pottery, provide a potter's wheel. Once your child sculpts a masterpiece, read the instructions on the clay box to determine its baking temperature and time. Once the piece comes out of the kiln it will last forever. If you do not have a kiln, some art stores sell air hardening clay for an excellent alternative. Either glaze before firing or paint with acrylics afterward. The glaze is a much more permanent solution.

Art classes are the best way for your child to experience different mediums in a safe, structured environment. However, if you're not quite ready to enroll them in art classes, purchase some instructional art videos to gain a better understanding of these projects. Learning techniques together will improve both minds. Engaging in art together is an excellent way to bond, and its many benefits will shape the rest of your child's life.

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Erika Paine is an art teacher in Mississippi who has been experimenting with various art supplies since she received her first art supply kit at the age of three. She only uses top quality kids art supplies and easels with her students to give them the true artistic experience.

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