As the new year begins, you may wonder what 2016 will bring for your child when it comes to art. Will their drawing skills improve? Will they make new friends with similar interests? Will they understand how colors convey feelings? Will they learn about history through the context of art? Will they learn how to express their emotions better via the artistic process?
While our teachers work hard to foster all of these facets of art education, there are things you can do to encourage your child to grow in art this year. Here are 4 simple ways to make 2016 your child's best art year yet.
If your child is enrolled in weekly art classes, they're off to a good start. But if art is truly how your child processes the world around them, they might crave more art time during the week. Set up a space in your home where your child can go anytime to create art freely.
You can put a small table or desk in a corner of your kitchen or their bedroom. Keep a small desk organizer filled with art supplies on the table for easy access. Some good (and clean) options are white and colored paper, crayons, colored pencils, stickers, washi tape, cardboard, string, tissue paper, cloud clay, and pipe cleaners.
No need to set up a dedicated "art time". Allow your child to choose when and how they create, and it will become a place of self-guided learning and growth.
Give Them a Sketchbook
Artists use sketchbooks to jot down ideas, keep a visual journal, or practice drawing skills while out and about. If you notice your child constantly drawing, give them a sketchbook to keep their drawings organized. It's fun to look back on an old sketchbook and see how much they've improved. Not to mention, sketchbooks hone observational drawing skills.
Sketchbooks are best used on the go. Your child may draw a dancer while waiting for their sibling at dance class, or sketch a tree at the park. They could observe people at the airport and practice figure drawing. Older children might jot down a thought and draw the most memorable thing from that day. Sketchbooks can be as varied as the artists who draw in them.
Praise the Process, Not the Product
Maybe your child really loves art but is too young to bring home stunning pieces just yet. Or maybe their behavior and mood improves when they take art classes, but they're not there for the end product. How can you encourage this type of artist?
As with all young artists, you should praise the process and not the product. You might notice an improvement in line quality, painting skills, or focus. Or maybe their teacher commented on an improvement in listening skills and speaking out of turn. Give praise for small victories that aren't necessarily related to the quality of the final project. Your child will learn that art has inherent value besides aesthetics.
Bring Art Alive
Nothing is more exciting for a young artist than seeing "real" art in person! Make a point to go to local museums and galleries. Chances are good that your nearest museum offers tours where children can engage in artwork with the help of a museum professional. Even if you don't go on a guided tour, walking through the museum together will expose your child to a more tangible art world outside their art classroom.
Thank you for investing in your child's artistic future! Let us know how you encourage art in your home in the comments below.