11 June 2021 (updated)

Creative Kids: How to Encourage Your Child to Love Art

Have you ever looked at a piece of artwork done by a young child and thought, "How in the world did they come up with that?" Young kids are so naturally creative!

Whether it’s drawingpainting, or sculpting with play-doh, their creative output is impressive. Check out these arts, crafts, and tips that may encourage their enthusiasm for self-expression so they never lose that artistic spark!

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The Impact of Creative Arts on Kids

Childhood is a time when creativity really flourishes. Arts and crafts are perfect open-ended activities for little ones who are exploring the textures and colors of the world around them.

Setting your child up with an arts and crafts activity may seem like a great way to keep them occupied while you're busy with other things. However, it's so much more than that.

When it comes to arts and crafts for kids, when you emphasize creativity, kids have an improved ability to express themselves. They also grow up to become more creative adults! That's why, as children get older, it's important to continue cultivating their curiosity and creativity, even if it's not in the arts.

Creative expression also has a positive impact on the academic performance of kids. According to Americans for the Arts, kids who participate in the crafts or arts are more likely to achieve academic goals. In addition, the attention required for art and crafts projects can help them to develop focus, motor skills, and self-confidence.

How Do I Encourage My Child to Love Art?

There are many ways to foster that creative spark that's often so evident in childhood. Here are a few ways you can nourish that and help your kids love the arts.

Lead by Example.

There are plenty of ways to get your kids artistically inspired! Many adults have a passion for fine arts, whether it’s music, visual arts, or interior design. So, share your interests by working together on a project or listening to music with your child. You can also take them to the art gallery to look at contemporary art, classical art, or interactive exhibits, especially ones that you love.

Give Your Kids Materials to Create.

Since kids are naturally creative, give them the materials for their own arts and crafts ideas! Tempera paint, markers, glue, scissors, paper, glitter, or clay, are simple, yet useful materials that can help set the stage. Don't overwhelm them with too many options, especially if they're toddlers or preschoolers.

Give Your Kids Time and Space to Create.

Art is a natural part of childhood. However, as children get older it can be more difficult for them to take the time for creativity. Fortunately, by remaining supportive and flexible, they may be inspired to follow their passion into adulthood. Between sports practices and homework, make sure your kids have enough time after school or on the weekends to express themselves. Give them a designated space that's free of toys and clutter so they can create. You could even set up an easel!

Ask Questions to Trigger Their Creativity.

Try asking questions that inspire open-ended answers (they can't just answer with "yes" or "no"). Ask what textures they feel, or how the project would be different if you used popsicle sticks instead of pipe cleaners. "How could we make this into a different shape?" "What do you think this (abstract) shape looks like?" "What kind of art supplies do we need for this craft?"

Teach Your Kids There Are Many Ways to Solve Problems.

This skill will not only serve them creatively but can help build many different skill sets. In every single stage of life, we are tasked with solving problems, even if it's as simple as how to get from point A to point B. Learning to solve problems creatively is the name of the game, whether in academia or the workforce and it forges new neural connections in your brain.

Let Your Kids Know Creativity Isn't One-Size Fits All.

I made a mistake when I was a young teacher. Exasperated, I told a three-year-old that if he did the art project, then he could go play (which is what he wanted to do). I was tasked with getting every kid to put at least something on the paper. He fought me for 20 minutes, half-heartedly scribbled something random on the paper with a crayon. Then he went back to playing. At that moment, I realized that a reward system for "creativity" would never cut it. That boy's natural creativity wasn't at all being engaged by that particular activity. Pushing him to do it only made both of us frustrated with the project. It possibly made him have a negative experience with "art." Looking back, I would have used different tactics or modified the activity. Live and learn.

How Can My Kids Learn About the Creative Arts?

Art classes for kids, whether they’re for painting, drawing, or any other art medium, will help to expand your kids' knowledge about art. Having an art teacher to guide them may provide your children with the inspiration and tools that they need to continue pursuing creativity.

If drawing or painting classes aren’t their first choices, there are plenty of inspiring art education books to choose from:

    • The Great Big Art History Coloring Book In addition to exploring famous works of art, this book will inspire arts and crafts ideas for kids. Your children will learn about artists, art movements, and the most famous paintings around.
    • Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression – She may be one of the most famous American photographers in history. This fun children’s book that explores Lange’s rebellions as a student may inspire the photographer in your little one!
    • The Dot If your child hesitates to dive into a project because of perfectionism or insecurity, this is the perfect story. The author shows in a humorous and kind way that getting started can be the hardest part of any creative endeavor, but it's totally worth it.
    • The Beautiful Oops – If you have a child who's hard on themselves for their mistakes, especially when creating art, this book will help. Its message is simple: When you think you have made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful!

What Are Some Fun Art Activities for Kids?

Spring and summer are wonderful times to break out the art supplies. A backdrop of blooming flowers and new life is an ideal space to create something new. Send your kids outside with some sidewalk chalk to make their own drawings or gather flowers to press. Have them "paint" the sidewalk with water and watch how the sun dries it up. Or, use natural materials to make a beautiful collage!

Winter weather and short days lend themselves to appreciating indoor creative events at the theatre, concert hall, or exhibitions. It's also the perfect time to hunker down and attempt that DIY Christmas craft or create the perfect Valentine's Day card. You may even want to take your children to a museum to sketch out some of their favorite works of art that they see.

Talk to your child about the artist, their life and work, or how they made a specific masterpiece.

If they show interest in taking up an instrument, nurture that! Whether they’re interested in piano, guitar, or clarinet, the discipline and motor skills required for playing an instrument can be a great way to express themselves using music, rhythm, and motion.

When I was younger, I expressed my creativity in plenty of out-of-the-box ways. I liked to design and make glass bead bracelets and necklaces, which I then tried to sell at yard sales. I bought knock-off Keds and "designed" them with extra fine sharpies and tried to sell custom-painted shoes. There are so many awesome ways that older kids can use their craftiness as an outlet! The sky's the limit!

Easy Crafts for Creative Kids

Looking for some easy ways to get raise creative kids? Try a few of these simple ideas to get started.

Raised salt painting: For this easy craft, all you'll need is card stock, a squeeze bottle of glue, table salt, and liquid watercolors. Start by squeezing your desired design onto the cardstock with the glue. Carefully sprinkle salt onto cardstock until you thoroughly cover the glue. Dip your paintbrush into liquid watercolor paint then gently touch the salt-covered glue lines. Watch the paint travel in both directions! If you like, you can use a dropper or pipette instead of a paintbrush to add your watercolor paint. Let it dry and admire your raised salt painting!

Nature Suncatchers: This is one of the coolest child art projects out there, and they'll have fun collecting the materials they need, then pressing them between clear contact paper.

The Back-and-Forth Drawing Game: For this, you just need a piece of paper and two pens, markers, or colored pencils. Take turns adding one feature each to the drawing, then admire your joint creation when finished!

Green Kids CraftsThis company will ship your kids nature-based STEAM crafts to empower them and encourage creativity. 

Share Your Child's Art

Do your kids have a passion for the arts? Share pictures of their favorite creations with the people you love on FamilyApp! Your support might be the push they need to continue pursuing their creative talents for the rest of their lives.



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