My wee one is just on the cusp of getting into the arts. Music comes on and she cant help but baby twerk. She has tastes and loves and dislikes. She's started to sing, to herself mostly when she's just woken up in the morning and after nap. It is lovely to lie in bed and hear her hammering out a tune of sorts. She will be a drama queen, that I can see and know is coming and she's just shown interest in drawing. She loves to scribble, be it in chalk on the chalkboard I painted on part of her playroom wall or soap bubbles when we share a shower ( she finger paints on the shower screen ). And for the first time the other day with a crayon. It was a rainy day and we needed to fill 5 mins, her attention span ! I taped some scrap paper to her table and laid out crayons for her and a friend. Just to see if they were there yet. Her friend was, she is slightly older, and with a bit of copying, wee woman got the hang of it and both filled there pages with colourful swirls and crazy patterns. Of course her efforts were clipped to the wall in the start of what will be a long and never ending line of art to come.
Its wonderful see them get creative. To try something and it works. So today at playgroup when the opportunity arose to make Christmas cards , we both jumped at it. I was pleasantly surprised she got the concept of choosing a sticker and getting me to peel it off ( I love my daughter but she's not there yet ) then pushing it on to the paper. Boy did I have to resist the urge to straighten it or show her where to put it and to uncrinkle her efforts. I had to let her do it , to ignite the love of creation in her. Making something she can keep. It may start slow but once it has started there is no stopping it. So if you wish your wee one not to draw on the walls , its time to get crafty. Its only 5 mins to begin with but as they get more dextrous they will get lost in a project and do what ever it is for hours sometimes. So be prepared. Here is how....
Start collecting - Paper is a good one. Misprints/ scrap paper and old magazines, instead of recycling , keep a few sheets and a few months of catelogues in a box somewhere.
A small art table - one thats been preloved so you're not worried about scratches and scraps, glue and felt tip pens all over it. I give my wee one snack on hers as it comes with chairs as well so she can be independent. And it will move on to her art table.
An easel - so many supermarkets now offer great types with all sorts of price points. You can get one easily. One side has a roll of paper coming down and the other a chalk board.
Oil Cloth - I have a huge one for my kitchen table as a table cloth and one small meter squared under her high chair . Now, I have invested in one to be used either on her art table when it's really messy play and or to go underneath to catch the less messy play. As she gets less of a messy eater and more of a messy painter , I'll have one on the art table and one under it !
An art space - and I don't mean where to hang dripping wet creations but where to store all the stuff you'll need to make them. The nanny in me always had an art box. A cupboard, shelves , a place where I could collect things for that moment when they need a filler for their day. I have felt tip pens, paints, brushes, glue, eco glitter, stickers, feathers, stones ( to roll around in a container covered in paint, on paper, great introduction to painting thats not as messy ) colouring books, water colour books ( paint brush dipped in water , bring out the colours on the page ) crayons and chalk,( both to be big and chunky for wee hands to hold ) safety scissors , old jar or glass for water to wash brushes, play dough, shaped cutters. lots of paper, coloured, craft, scrap, textured and patterned. Bobbly eyes of all sizes that stick on, paper cups and plates, string, wool and ribbons. An Old biscuit tin and up cycled plastic containers and chocolate boxes hold all the items wee fingers should not get hold of.
As they get older you can branch out into projects that make slime or bath bombs, perfume or bedazzling a butterfly. There are great kits and box sets to help you along the way. But I find having some thing creative and crafty up your sleeve when they are out of ideas on what to do is great. I found I would have things always available to them like colouring pencils and a book or stack of paper or roll on an easel so they can just come along when the mood hits them and special things that it takes us both to engage in to get the work done. There are plenty of ideas on the web if you need inspiration.
And with Christmas nearly here and Easter around the corner a lot of home made items needed. Like decorating the brown wrapping paper for presents or the boiled eggs at Easter. Handmade finger print cards, even just for you to pop in the keep sake box to treasure as the years pass. Snowmen out of toilet paper and the cotton wool that they told you, you would need when they were newborn but never used or never used up.
To watch your wee ones make and create and master art and the arts is such a blessing. It can be a wonderful activity for every holiday and season. Summer you make mudpies and drawing in the sand . Autum, collecting the fallen leaves and making rubbing over them with crayons to make oranges and browns prints. Winter, making paper string chains to decorate the tree. Spring, drawing with colour or stickers the flowers you see blooming. It switches on their creative side, their right hand side of the brain that stimulates imagination , the most important tool and skill for your child. Ever. They can see something in their mind and want to make it in all mediums. They just want to paint with their fingers and see what colour it makes, ( brown , it always ends up brown ) to make swirls and squash new textures between their fingers. Messy wonderful play creating a story in colour and form.
Its time to get ready to be crafty ...
ps , it doesn't all have to be things to put on for show, baking and decorating cupcakes, I definitely count as art too !!!! Thick icing, sprinklers, the works. Who says the kids get all the fun