Teaching Art to Kids

Red Cat Reading Team Blog, fun activities, Red Cat Reading

For some people, creating art comes naturally, while for others it may seem like an impossible task to make anything remotely artistic. But we have news for you, anyone can make beautiful art, even kids, no matter your experience level! Most kids out there enjoy art and can have a really good time expressing themselves by getting creative and maybe a little messy. But what do parents and teachers do when they want to teach their kids or students about art, but have no experience? Check out this article that will give you all the information you need to make sure your kids have a blast making art!

What are some of the benefits of exposing your children to art? 

  • Practicing fine motor skills.
  • Learning about shapes and colors.
  • Experiencing self expression.
  • Learning to follow instructions.
  • Having fun!

Make Sure the Type of Art is Age Appropriate!

Depending on the type of art you choose, the level of difficulty can really vary. For example, even for an adult, drawing a sketch of a person or painting a bowl of fruit exactly as they see it can be really tough. So try to choose what type of art you’d like your child to try by considering their age, level of interest, and difficulty of the art. 

Small children may struggle with focusing on an art project or being careful with materials, so it’s best to start a project with an open mind and expect things to not always go according to plan. The goal isn’t to create something specific or copy something perfectly, but to have a good time and make something you’re proud of.

If you make the mistake of giving a child a task that is beyond their capabilities, they might lose confidence in themselves and feel like giving up on their art. Have you ever felt frustrated about a drawing or painting that didn’t turn out how you wanted? Well, kids who are just starting out in art might internalize that feeling of failure and never want to make art again. So let’s focus on how we can boost kids’ confidence and start an art project that they can certainly tackle on their own.

1. Finger Painting

This activity is perfect for young children who can’t yet hold onto objects like paintbrushes or pencils and need a safe way to make some art by themselves. Using non-toxic paint, you can let small children get messy and have the time of their lives adding colors to paper or canvas with their hands. A budget friendly setup is to get some long and wide paper, lay it out on a tarp, perhaps on the backyard or patio, or even a table you don’t mind getting messy, and prepare the space for art time. 

You can put the paint in bowls and let your child dip their fingers and hands into the bowls or you can squeeze the paint directly onto their hands or the paper. They can then decide if they want to carefully paint a picture or just enjoy adding and moving the colors around on the paper. This activity might be a bit messy, so make sure they’re wearing something you don’t mind getting covered in paint!

2. Clay

Making art or just playing with clay is so fun for small children, because they can enjoy different textures and colors at the same time! There are many varieties of non-toxic clay out there that your kids can use safely, so you can rest assured that they’ll be able to have some good clean fun! We recommend setting up a plastic mat or even a plastic or wooden cutting board on a table to use as their art surface. In a pinch, a large clipboard might even work as well. Clay can be sticky, so try to use a space that can be easily wiped down. Definitely avoid getting clay in places like your carpet or stuffed animals! 

When you’re all set up, you can help teach your child to make simple “snakes” by rolling out the clay with your hands on the surface of your board. You can also help your child to roll out the clay with a rolling pin and use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes! Or, of course, you can freestyle it and have fun molding the clay into whatever you like! When you’re finished, you can put the clay back into its containers or for some varieties, you can even let it sit out until it dries out and hardens. Then you can keep your design forever! 

3. Collages

Collages are so simple to make with small children, but they can turn out absolutely beautiful when completed! You can make a collage from almost any type of paper, magazines, colorful tissue paper, wrapping paper, newspaper, construction paper, stickers, sequins…basically whatever you got that can stick to some paper with glue! 

The process is super easy. Take some tissue paper, or whatever material you and your child prefer, and tear it up into pieces. This is something that you and your child can enjoy together! Some kids might take a long time tearing the paper into teeny tiny pieces, while others might make giant chunks, so it might be a good idea to help out and make sure they’ve got pieces that are easy for them to work with. Next, on construction paper, poster board, cardboard, wood, or whatever base you like, add dots of glue where your child can add pieces of paper. This part can be so fun, because your child might race to add the paper right after you dot on the glue or might be very meticulous about adding each decoration very carefully. Every child is unique and the way they enjoy art is as well!

4. Sidewalk Chalk

This is a classic art activity that many adults have experienced themselves when they were children. It’s a very inexpensive activity that is lots of fun and can keep kids entertained for hours! It’s perfect for a warm day when the driveway or patio is dry and ready for some art to be added to it. 

To get started, buy some sidewalk chalk, but preferably the larger sized variety. Thinner chalk can break easily, especially when held by small children who can’t quite control their grip yet, so try to find a thicker chalk. 

While chalk is washable, you might still want to have your children wear something that is ok to get stained a bit or can handle a heavy wash. Children might sit on or bend their knees to the ground, so they might want to wear pants or leggings to avoid any scrapes. 

 When they’re ready, kids can draw whatever pictures they like on the pavement or cement, and can even practice writing if they like! They can make broad strokes and make a rainbow or try drawing their family and write everyone’s names! When they’re done, they can enjoy seeing their art everyday until the chalk wears off or it rains. But if you need to clean up in a hurry, you can grab a hose and simply remove the chalk with a spray of water. 

There are so many ways for kids of all ages to enjoy art and grow to love the fun and self expression that comes with it! Some children may even discover a knack for art they didn’t even know they had and will develop their skills for years to come! But all children will certainly benefit from the joy that art brings and the satisfaction of completing their artwork. 

Which art project will you try with your kids first? Share these ideas with them and see what strikes their fancy! If you can, try to display it for all to see when it’s done for a great confidence boost! Have fun!

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