Written by contributor Melissa Allen of Green Owl Art
When I first became a mother I struggled with how to stay creative myself and not to lose my own love for creating art. Sure, I could have considered my new art of blending peas and carrots into beautiful purees something to look forward to, but I missed my paints, ribbon, mod podge and oh Lord, how I missed my glue gun. When I started to get back into my true passion my daughter was about one year old and got into EVERYTHING, making it impossible for me to do any sort of creative project. It was about this time when it hit me, she is interested in art just as much as I am. My sweet little one year old was intrigued by my paints and glue and my love for all things crafty. She was an artist genius in the making, of course. OK, maybe that is going a little too far, but all this time I was trying to create around her and what I should be doing is create with her.
“All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
I got to work right away creating a space for my daughter and I to create together. A space that was warm, inviting and easy for children to sit down and feel free to express themselves through art. A space that was accessible to children and filled with supplies that were easy for little hands to work with.
Tips for Creating a Blissful Art Space for You and Your Child:
- Use a work surface that is is easy for children to work at on their own. We use a picnic style table with benches that are easy for my children to hop on and off of.
- Keep kid friendly supplies accessible at all times. I love using jars, cans and caddies to hold our art supplies and I keep them out at the children’s reach all the time. I want them to feel like they can go and create whenever that creative spark hits them.
- Stay organized! I know it’s not always easy, but creating in an organized space is always more inspiring for myself, why wouldn’t it be for my children. By demonstrating this organization it also encourages children to keep there space clean and organized.
- Encourage your child to dig into the recycling box for art goods. Show them that there are no limits on what they can create and that thinking outside the box is always a good thing. Sometimes I lay a few odd materials on our art table and just wait to see what happens when the kids find it. Last week I left sheets of aluminum foil out for them and they made the most beautiful abstract sculptures.
- If the mess discourages you offer things to help ease this. We have a pile of place mats and aprons always at their reach. Baking sheets are another great tool to work on and keep things like glitter, beads and sequins more confined. Keep light weight baking sheets or lunch trays at the art table. A dust buster designated for the art room is always helpful as well.
- Have supplies on hand that your children enjoy working with, that are easy for them to use and that are good quality products that work. I have learned that spending more on good art supplies actually saves me money because I replace less often. Some of our favorites are glitter glue, colored glue sticks, pom poms, pipe cleaners, paper punches, play dough, edger scissors and liquid watercolors paints.
- Lastly, set a creative example. Sometimes I sit down and start to paint or draw without asking my children to join me and they always end up next to me creating some sort of art themselves. It is not only good for my children to see this and to be enjoying art as a family, but it also warms my creative soul.
For more art inspiring ideas from Melissa, head on over to Green Owl Art.