Open ended art is super important for kids to experience. Crafts that turn out cutesy lady bugs or perfect cookie cutter American flags are cute, but giving kids an opportunity to really experience art mediums and have valuable sensory experiences is vital to their development. These activities also give kids the chance to be in control of the outcome and create what THEY find beautiful instead of what we tell them is good.
Creativity is established by age 8, and in the state of Oklahoma, art is not offered in school until 5th grade. What are we missing here? Where is the disconnect? Art is essential for children’s development! Click here to see 10 reasons why.
Children learn so much from open ended, child directed art. According to the National Association for Education of Young Children they learn:
“Social and emotional
Children relax, focus, feel successful, and can express their feelings
Language and literacy
Children may choose to discuss their art and add print to it (on their own or by dictating to a teacher)
Children compare, predict, plan, and problem solve
Children use small motor skills to paint, write, glue, use clay, and make collages”
There are a multitude of other things children learn from experiencing creating art. Click here to read the rest of the article.
At Little Sprouts, we do a lot of art. I was raised by an artist, and I have seen the impact of art on the world, myself, and children’s development. When my daughter Kayla was little, I made sure she spent a lot of time being creative and now she is perusing creative goals as an adult.
We love to have special art parties at Little Sprouts. It’s a great party to throw outside where the kids can get as into the art as they wish. I ask parents to send children in old clothes and send something to change into after the party. This would also be a great idea for a children’s birthday party or even a party for adults. If you don’t spend time creating things, you will be amazed what it will do for your stress level, your self-esteem, and your sense of accomplishment if you do some creating. Even our God loves to create, look at all the beauty He made and still makes? We are born to do it!
What makes an art party marvelous?
- Fun! Make sure the atmosphere is laid back and you are engaged and ready to support children’s efforts. Praising children with “good job” and other comments is not nearly as important as taking the time to appreciate what they are doing. You can ask children what they were thinking as they created their art or how it made them feel. Instead of saying what is it, you can say, tell me about it. You can also say, I loved watching you have fun making this, or I love how many colors you used. This type of feedback encourages children to appreciate their own efforts as well.
- Freedom. Children need to be able to explore the art mediums they are offered and use them any way they see fit to create. Avoid using terms like, you need to use the paint brush or do this or that. At our art party last week, the most common thing I said, is “You can use it any way you want”.
- Variety. For instance, when offering paint to children, don’t just give them paint brushes. Also offer some leaves or other natural objects to paint with as well as sponges, shaped objects, and of course, they can be free to use their fingers.
- Options. Don’t require children to participate. If they just want to put one line on a paper and move to another station, that’s perfectly fine. They are exploring the materials and its part of learning. Soon, you will see them take a deeper look at things and begin to use more creativity.
Here are some of the activities we did at our last art party. No two parties are the same here, I always try to come up with something new and different to expose the children to. Be creative when thinking of ways to encourage the kids to create!
Shaving cream paint. Just shaving cream squirted into a bowl and a few squirts of paint added. This was definitely the favorite medium of the day. Kids loved exploring it.
Murals were available. I just used news print cut in pieces and stapled them to the fence. Children could paint with brushes, fingers, onion tops, leaves, branches, pinecones, and a number of other things I found around the yard.
As the art party began, children were able to make designs on these papers with glue, then at the end of the party, I gave them liquid water colors to paint over the dried glue and make relief art. They thought that was pretty cool.
There are so many other options, these are just a few we did this time around. If you want to get inspired with children’s open ended art ideas, check out Pinterest. It’s always a great place to get ideas!
To read an interesting article on how creative art can change the lives of neglected and abused children, click here.
I wish you art, I wish you love, I with you the peace in your soul that art brings. I hope you will create something today and tell me all about it!