“Doing art at home has nothing to do with accuracy, skill or ‘fine-art-degree’ perfection. Your children just need to create!”
…says Hamish from Inspired Arts. So how do you get started? Get ready for some fun ideas on arty things to do at home with your kids.
Whenever parents talk to me about doing art with their kids I nearly always hear the same fears. “I don’t have a creative bone in my body” or “My stick-figures make cavemen laugh”… that sort of thing. So to begin, I need to put these worries at ease. Doing art at home has nothing to do with accuracy, skill or ‘fine-art-degree’ perfection. Your children just need to create, they just need excitement and fun and colour and expression. This is something that we can all do; whether it is simply pointing out the way the water has splashed onto the wet stone by the pool, or how the red and yellow play-dough has blended to make orange.
Most of the beauty of creating art with your kids is the ability to be present and be open to discussion and conversation. You do not need a separate room or specialist materials to have an artistic home, you simply need a little time and a focus on the process rather than the product.
1. Never answer ‘Is it good?’ with a statement about their product. Talk about what stands out to you, ask them what they like about it, and what stands out to them in the process and the work. Children don’t need an art critic. I am sure Jackson Pollock never stopped to ask if ‘it was good?’ He simply created and expressed.
2. You should be doing the art as well… creating art beside them is far more beneficial than watching over them. I have had parents come away from a shoulder to shoulder art session in happy tears because of the non pressurised enjoyment of sitting together and making something side by side.
So in that spirit, I would love to give you a couple simple art activities to do at home. Click through the Gallery for our Art at Home with Kids How-To Guide!
- Food dye (watered down – Primary colours are fine)
- Brushes, straws, cotton buds, (anything that can move dye from the container to the paper)
- Paper (A4 or smaller – anything larger will be too time consuming)
- Fine black markers or pens
- Tissues of kitchen paper towels
- A tray to contain the mess, or Newspaper
- A hair dryer – (if you want to dry art quickly)
To begin with, use the dye to create a picture. It could be anything, an animal, a scene, a memory or experience. Encourage your kids to fill the whole page. Do not draw the picture first. Use the dye, let it bleed and run and blend. The colours will get messy and will lose definition. You want this to happen. Discuss the colour and even talk to your kids about using colours to represent how they feel about the animal or experience rather than being accurate. Let your kids decide what the colours mean too; what red means to them, might be different to you – that’s ok.
When the picture is finished, let it dry. Tissue paper and hairdryers speed this up, but they also change the look and vibrancy of the artwork, so experiment. This is very quick art to create, so you might want to do more than one, experimenting with colours and quantities. Everyone accidentally makes at least one big brown puddle, so don’t be discouraged if this is happening, just use a little less dye, and dab up spills with some twisted tissue or kitchen paper.
Once the work is dry, simply outline the variety of shapes. You need to forget the original intention of the artwork at this stage, as it seldom remains the same.Outline the shapes and edges with a fine black marker. Use as much detail as possible, and simply follow the natural lines and edges around each colour and tone. Your art will start to take on the nature of a topographical map. This does take time and patience and might be a good thing to fit in when you have a few spare minutes. I’ve seen children and adults lost for hours in this part of the artwork. Once the outlining is finished, you can if you like, add repeating patterns within the different spaces.
This is one of my favourite art activities because everyone can have success no matter their age or ability, and it facilitates amazing discussion around line and shape and colour and pattern.