Starting to think about Art

One activity I was keen on doing with my kids during the pandemic (when we had endless hours and time together) was: Arts & Crafts.

It is terrifying researching on this topic, there is so much information out there, and you will get overwhelmed if you are like me, a beginner. There are bloggers, authors, an abundance of Pinterest boards and a plethora of ideas floating around. I started to research and very quickly started to feel overwhelmed.

I had to start somewhere, so I started with “The Artful Parent” website. Run by a mum of two kids, Jean Vant Hul has a lot of ideas for painting, drawing, working with clay and playdough activities, and they are all neatly organised into categories on her website.

These were some of my goals:

  1. To give my kids a taste for Arts & Crafts at home: I knew that they did these activities at school/nursery, but now I was looking at doing them in our homeschool.
  2. I wanted to gently ease myself into working with arts and crafts materials at home. I’m a big fan (aka obsessed) of having a tidy house, but I knew that if I was going to start homeschooling, I had to let go of some of these desires. I had to be ok with having a messy house and be willing to give my kids the freedom to explore with paints, glitter and melted crayons! I wanted to ease into it.
  3. I want to give my kids a love for art. Especially at their young age; I want to promote creativity and artistic freedom (gasp!)
  4. I want to have creative activities to do at home when we had bits of free time, for example, during quiet time in the afternoons.
  5. I wanted to learn art along with them and let this be a voyage of discovery for our whole family.

I went through some of the activities on The Artful Parent and made an excel list of the ones I wanted to try out with my kids. The list was a mix of activities that was based on a) cost of materials b) ability (theirs and mine) and c) amount of mess it would make (See point 2 above about easing into this subject area).

I eventually added “Art” into our daily homeschool routine, and after several of these activities, I learnt that:

  1. I loved seeing the excitement on my children’s faces when I explained the art/craft we were going to do that day.
  2. Each activity took place for about 30 mins on good days – some days it was less, and they quickly moved onto something else when they were done (like jumping!).
  3. They loved seeing their creations being displayed in our kitchen, front door or walls. They insisted I keep some of their creations forever.
  4. I saw them develop confidence with using paintbrushes, watercolours, oil-based crayons, glue and play dough.
  5. I developed more confidence myself as I tried different activities with my kids, and I also learnt to EMBRACE the mess.

I will end this post with a poem by Diana Loomans that touched me.

If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again

If I had my child to raise over again,
I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less.
I’d do less correcting, and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I’d run through more fields, and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging, and less tugging.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d teach less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.
It matters not whether my child is big or small,
From this day forth, I’ll cherish it all.

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