I’ve always loved creating. I’m not sure if my mom just always encouraged it with projects or if it was a natural thing but it’s just something that’s always excited my spirit. I love painting, sketching and coloring. I took all kinds of art classes in school because it was a good change of pace from the academics and I considered art school for a long time. My teacher encouraged me to apply for several scholarships and I ended up going a different route. Yet, I always had a heart for art. I dreamed of having a small art studio where I could teach kids to paint and inspire & nurture their creative spirits. When I opened a different business years later, I wanted to host art classes for kids in the space in the evenings. It never happened but it’s always been a little dream of mine.
Then I became a mom, and while I would still love to have a quiet little art studio filled with tiny humans painting their hearts out, right now I get to do it with my daughter any time I want. B has had a couple little craft projects already and I can’t wait until he’s big enough to do even more fun stuff with A and I. Letting them just create whatever is in their minds is so much fun to me!
A couple of months ago and sweet friend of mine messaged me a photo of her young daughter painting that said, “And now I completely understand how parents can be so proud of early artwork.” I’d like to think she shared it with me because she knew that it would make my heart soar because that’s just so in my element. I read the message, looked at the photo and beamed because I’ve been in that moment where my friend was, where my heart was soaring with happiness because my daughter made just the best masterpiece her mind could muster up.
Last Summer, I bought a canvas 5 pack and decided to let A create whatever she wanted. I gave her one color at a time and brushes on an old plastic table cloth. I sat and let her paint each color until she was finished and then we moved onto the next, and the next and introduced stamp and other up-cycled tools like lids and various shaped items. Once they were dry we hung them up. It’s still one of her favorite things ever that hang in her room.
(I apologize in advance for some of the poor quality images below. When you are creating art you don’t always plan to make the best photos!)
I decided I would share some of my tips to help nurture your child’s creative spirit.
- Let Go of Your Expectations.
Sometimes as adults we have an idea of where something should go, what color should go where, etc. and we want to intervene and “help”. Instead of helping, just let your child create what feels good to them. Remember, it’s their creative process that you are trying to encourage, not your own.
- Get Hands On Yourself.
My daughter loves when I create a project alongside her or with her. Sometimes I create my own painting while she creates hers and we talk about our two pictures we are making, other times we work on a project together but I let her take the reigns and follow her lead.
- Encourage Your Child.
You don’t have to tell your child their piece belongs in the museum or that they are the next Picasso but telling them they are doing a great job or that they are really creative will encourage them to keep creating.
- Don’t Stress the Mess.
Your child will make a mess. It’s part of creating. Markers will go off of the page, paint will get on their skin or the floor. It happens. If you stress the mess, or they get in trouble for making it – they are going to start steering away from creating. Plan ahead by using washable paints and markers. Put a drop cloth or old tablecloth down. Change your child into play clothes or buy a smock. Lastly – you can always use the bathtub! I’ve used the tub before and it’s perfect because once they are finished, you take out the art work, wash out the tub and they are ready for a bath!
- Show off their Artwork!
If kids artwork on the fridge or living room for all your guests to see isn’t your thing, that’s okay but put it somewhere. We created a few places to hang art around our house like the playroom and her bedroom by taking a long piece of string, two little nails and clothes pins. We also have framed a few pieces and like you saw above, we also have the 5 canvas piece in her room. By displaying their artwork they can see that they are proud of it, as well as, they will see it regularly making them want to create even more!
Miss A tells me regularly that she wants to create or do something because “she’s an artist!” and I absolutely love hearing her excited to create art!
Tell me – do you create with your child? What do you do to encourage their creative spirits? Get hands on with your kiddos more this month and tag the post #JSCreativeSpiritChallenge!