From the desk of the Early Childhood Education department:
Creative art and expression should be encouraged in all areas of a child’s life. Art can have positive impacts in the areas of language development, decision making skills, motor skills, visual skills, and creative expression; but let’s not forget the importance of “art for art’s sake”. Creating an art area at home is a great place to start! Where to begin?
- You do not need a large area – You might start with a small art desk that is kept clutter free in case the artistic mood strikes. Art supplies should be available and easy to access. A child size desk and chair is great, but a chair isn’t necessarily needed as many young children prefer to stand while doing projects. Don’t forget organizers for supplies.
- Consider the floor – If your flooring isn’t spill friendly you might look into purchasing a small rug or picking up a piece of laminated flooring to set the desk/table on.
- Gather the basic supplies – These will depend on the age of your child. Plain paper, construction paper, crayons, colored pencils, washable markers, glue sticks, pipe cleaners, playdough and safety scissors are a great beginning for most age groups. Next, you can add art enhancers as needed: feathers, glitter, old magazines, recycled items such as boxes and plastic bottles, items from nature (sticks, rocks, leaves, pine cones), colored tissue paper, string, or fabric. Almost anything can be added to art!
- Paint!? – Non-toxic paints are a great addition, but most parents cringe at the thought of these in the house. A great compromise is an art easel that can be taken outside on warmer days. No worries about spills and wipes. Plus, children can add nature to their art theme!
Once you have the art area created, it’s time to allow your child to create on their own. Art should not have rules. Rules for the supplies are perfectly ok, but your child should be able to be free with their creativity and color the horse blue or the sky green if they like and there’s nothing wrong with a polka dot frog. Happy Arting!