You might think that because I post a craft once a week (usually on a Tuesday) and because I recently posted Se7en of the Best Art Appreciation Resources for Kids; Se7en of the Best Art History Resources for Kids and The Usborne Art Treasury – a Review, that my hours are spent teaching my kids arty things and we spend our days arting… well, dare I say, this is a bit of a misconception!
And here is the truth… I actually spend about twenty minutes a week doing art appreciation with my kids and the rest of the time their art projects are up to them – really!!!
I make sure that all art materials are available to my kids at all times. Art materials are kept on the dresser. So the hoods are pretty much left to their own devices – and I do this consciously – the only way for them to grow up being imaginative creative people is if they grow up doing imaginative and creative things.
Anyone who is able to clamber up and grab is allowed to clamber up and grab. I figured this out when Hood #1 was young I wanted my kids to have arty things available and knew that I would have to teach them to live alongside art materials. Never give your kids a drawing instrument without a piece of paper. Never ever! Let them know that they belong together. This golden rule seems to have protected our home from most toddler attacks. On any given day I have kids clambering through paints and little guys gumming on markers!
Unfortunatley I have other things to do – cook the odd meal and do the odd mountain of laundry and so on and on and on… I am their mother not the entertainment!
Which means they need inspiration from places other than me. I leave heaps of inspiration lying in their path and while they don’t usually follow the directions in a book they will often be inspired to go and create their own thing – which is so exactly what I am after!
So here are Se7en of their best Inspirations, in no particular order, that we literally have lying around our house:
- Websites: like KinderArt, which is flooded with art projects, everything you can think of – I adore their Art Book and my kids have a go at this project every year within the first few weeks of our school year… It is great to see how their art changes, given the same project, as they grow up.
- Blogs: like the Crafty Crow, which they pop in and visit every day! Art Projects for Kids, which I absolutely love. Not to mention Folding Trees, which has brilliant paper projects and lots of printables that kids can easily make and do.
- My little kids absolutely adore anything by Nellie Shepherd you can explore her projects on the DK website. Her books are gorgeous and full of real kids art projects – not the adult version – the kids version with the eyes glued on skew and the hair all skew – lovely, honest art.
- Anything by Jane Bull, her books inspire all my kids to do great projects and you can sample her projects on the DK website as well.
- The Usborne Activity Books, especially their Things to Make and Do Series. Any number of projects for the fairies, monsters, pirates and princesses in your home. My kids love these projects, they are easy enough to do and leave scope to express their own artiness!
Not to mention their activity cards.
The Usborne Complete book of Art Ideas deserves a review all of its own in the near future.
- Finally, Search Press and their Encyclopedia of Almost Anything Arty Series. These books are not written for kids, but my kids pour over them plotting and planning their own projects.
Obviously there are heaps more inspirations out there – but these should be enough to keep even the busiest little bees buzzing over a long weekend!