Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Affordable Art Activities for Kids

I love doing art projects with my son. Since art is among my personal interests, it was natural for me to expose him to it. I’m glad that he enjoys it as much as I do. In fact, he always looks forward to our next art activity.

Engaging in an art activity is therapeutic for both of us. It not only helps my son develop his artistic skills and creativity. It also helps improve his concentration and focus. It helps lengthen his attention span as well. When I want him to slow down, and reading is not as interesting to him as it usually is, I tell him that we are going to have an art activity. It always works! He instantly lights up and becomes more obedient. We can spend around an hour or more engaging in this kind of activity. As for me, it enables me to take my mind off the things that give me stress and express my thoughts and feelings creatively through art. Like what Pablo Picasso said, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." Creating something beautiful from your imagination gives joy in itself. Creating something beautiful with someone you love makes the experience even more wonderful. That’s why it is one of my favorite bonding activities with my son.

"I love you from the tip of my hands to the tip of my toes."

Another benefit of doing art projects with my son is that it helps develop his fine motor skills regardless of the kind of medium or material that we use in our activity. These kinds of activities help prepare toddlers to write minus the stress on both parent and child.

But you might say that you are not an artistic person and that you are not skilled in painting or drawing. Does that mean that you need to enroll your child and yourself in an art program? What if I don’t have the budget for that? You can choose to join an art program if you want to but I suggest that you start small, at home, and see how you and your child would respond to it. Skill is not a problem at all; because there are many kinds of art activities for you and your child. And as an old saying goes, "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder."
Yanthy/Gian used glue and sand to "write" his name.
Let me share with you simple art activities that my son and I love to do.
 Finger, hand or foot painting.
 Doodling, drawing or sketching.
 Cut and paste art projects.
 Coloring activities using crayons, water color, poster paint or colored pencils or pens.
 Creating things with clay.
 Sand art.

Below is one example of an art activity we had today since we are still in the month of hearts and tomorrow we will be entering the season of Lent. I got the inspiration while navigating this
site. I just modified it a bit. Here’s how we did it step by step:

1. We first traced a circle in a bond paper using a pencil and one of our cups.
2. My son used his fingers (his thumbs to be specific) to paint blue and green on the circle to make it look like the globe.

3. While letting the globe painting dry, we traced a heart on a red colored board and cut it.
4. My son cut the globe painting from the bond paper when it was already dry.

5. He glued the globe into the center of the heart cut out.
6. He glued the heart with the globe into the bond paper.
7. I wrote the Bible verse from John 3:16 with a pencil using dots so my toddler son can trace it and practice his handwriting.

8. My son used crayons to trace the verse.

9. We put masking tape at the back of the bond paper and posted his latest artwork on the wall.
10. We took a picture of him and his artwork.

I chose to include Steps 9 & 10 because I believe that these are crucial in building confidence and pride in your child. When we let the child showcase his artworks, we communicate the message that we are proud of what he does and that his artwork is important to us. Taking a picture of him and his artwork or his artwork only lets us document and keep his art projects digitally in case we choose not to keep them in a scrapbook. It helps us see his growth and development as an artist.

If you need ideas and inspirations, you can always search the net and choose some which you find interesting and appropriate for the age of your child. Here are some sites and articles I discovered as I searched for art ideas that my son and I can do. I got some of my ideas for our art activities from some of these sites. Sometimes, I do exactly the same art activity suggested. A lot of times, I adapt the main idea but customize it to better fit our abilities, needs and available resources.

Let me end with another quote from Pablo Picasso. "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

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