After my recent IG posts on my kids latest drawings, I have gotten tons of messages inquiring about how do I get my children to draw/paint so often and so well. One mom mentioned she had very active boys and wanted tips on how to get them to actually sit and create. Another one asked about what supplies I use with my kids. Somebody else mentioned she didn’t have the time or the creativity to get her girls to craft or paint. And like these, I have received many other questions regarding the creative happenings in our home with my boys of 7 and 5.
Ok, yes, I am an art teacher, and my husband is a full time artist, and I guess there might be some genes passed along to these 2 kiddos. But to me, raising creative kids has nothing to do to whether you are or not a crafty mom or dad, or born an artist, or have a background in art… Nope! We are all born artists, we just lose it along the way as we grow up and develop fear; fear to make mistakes, fear to screw up, fear to draw a house that will not look like a house, fear to explore new things and approach them with an open mindset, fear to fail.
It might seem like rocket science to you, but it’s not. Raising creative children is easy and it’s the best thing you can do (or so I think). Our world is changing, education is changing, and our kids come wired differently to us. We need to honor this reality and give them the tools to make a difference, to be creative thinkers, to develop problem-solving skills, to be kind, caring and empathic.
Now, to the point… I can get very passionate when talking about art and education and I don’t want to lose your short attention span (cause we all have short attention spans nowadays right?) so I will share with you my tips in raising creative kids and in making art a part of your/their life:
· Set up a space in their room (or anywhere in your house that works for you) that’s inviting for them to sit and get creative. You don’t have to spend big bucks, just a simple table (we got it all from IKEA) and chairs.
· Have art supplies always available and at easy access. I’m reading your mind right now –“But how can I leave markers and crayons at easy access, what if they make marks on my furniture or walls?”. Nooooo!! I promise (well not really promise promise lol) the more a kid is exposed and familiar to being around art supplies, the better use he/she will give to these. With time they will learn there are boundaries as in to where to paint, where not to paint, etc; but you must trust them. You’ll be surprised.
· Have lots of paper, any paper, recycled paper, colored paper. At first they might spend a lot, but little by little you will show them how to recycle and reuse and they will learn to use it wisely (and I always talk about the trees being “killed” to make paper and this one always gets to them…)
· Keep wipes or paper towel(s) handy, so they learn they must clean up if they make a mess. Relax! As long as you have a space for creativity, it will be easier to clean up.
· Don’t tell them what to do or expect for them to color within the lines! More so, around and beyond the lines. It’s all part of them expressing themselves, learning from their mistakes and feeling confident with the process of creating. If you are always pointing out what they must or must not do, they will lose interest. Remember it’s more about the process than about the product! Let them enjoy their processes at their own rhythm. Let them be.
· When going out with the kids for dinner, doctors appointments or anywhere where you know you will have to wait a while, bring a white pad and markers, colors or crayons with you. I always have a small case with markers in my bag, cause you never know…Leave the Ipad home! I promise, you will survive (and so will they!). Art supplies have always been my “weapons of choice” when going out and I’m telling you, they work wonders! And you will have at your table creative kids who can actually connect with you and look you in the eye, instead of being screen-dependent.
· Don’t jump to conclusions. If your kid is coming to show you what he drew, don’t say “Oh, what a beautiful shark!”…it might not be a shark and he/she might feel frustrated! Ask more questions and use more of a descriptive language to address what you see, more like “Oh, wow, what did you draw? I love how you used green and blue to make these long lines”. Observe and describe what you see and keep asking questions! Show interest! That’s the key!
· Let them be bored! Don’t go crazy making plans to “save” them from the hideous monster of boredom… On the contrary, let them fall in love with him, dance and stroll him around! It’s in those moments of boredom when great ideas arise and creativity shows up at its peak!
These are just a few tips to give you a jumpstart into raising creatives. Remember that creativity is KEY! A creative kid will grow to be a creative adult who’s willing to take risks and make a difference, who’s willing to stand out and lead rather than follow!
And lastly, I want to share with you some basic supplies that you must have and will inspire your children to get creative:
- markers (thin and thick point)
- white paper
And these are other supplies that I absolutely LOVE and highly recommend (I added the links in case you want to order):
- Gel pens
- Pipe Cleaners