Thursday, May 2, 2013

Talking to Your Kids About their Art

Encouraging creativity in kids is such an important roll for parents/teachers/adults. One of the fun and rewarding things we get to do. With my recent show of work at our school I thought I would touch some tips about talking to others about their art. As and a child or an adult art is a great activity. It is fun , playful and helps awaken our senses to the rest of what our day-to-day has. Do you remember the kids in your class who was always drawing? When did it stop... Why did it stop?
Even if you or the children in your life are not one of the blessed ones to ever become working artist, there are so many more benefits. And you can play a significant roll in the continuing of it.
  • problem solving
  • visualizing and planning
  • emotional expression
  • organization
  • organization of thoughts and ideas
  • creativity
  •  self esteem
  • physical dexterity
  • risk-taking
  • person satisfaction
  • No "right" or "wrong" except possibly in the use of tools and materials 
  • Get to working with interesting tools and materials
  • Plain old FUN to DO
As I mentioned 'right or ''wrong' applies really to only the use of the tools and materials, not in the artwork itself or the subject mater. It is usually a good thing when your kids' drawing and paintings don't look like any of the others in the class. This can show individual thinking and ideas.
Giving kids more blank papers and fewer coloring pages will help their individual creativity to grow.

Focus on the process of making art, not the product. You want to give them plenty or room in the conversation to talk. Don't over do it and be to critical or to over the top with praises. If you go on all the time, kids' will stop valuing your praises. Actually may doubt they do anything truly praise worthy. Focus the attention of your praise on the doing of the art. "You really worked hard on this drawing." What a great idea! rather than on their intellectual or how smart they are. Kids who are rewarded for doing, making progress, working through the challenges, even learning from what didn't work continue to thrive. Those congratulated for 'being smart" or artistic and creative stat playing it safe to protect their image.

Here are some conversation starters.
Focus on product:
"How did you do this?"
"You were really concentrating."
"That is an interesting way to use the pencil/pen/brush/paper."
"What does that feel like when you use much color, color...all that texture?"

Talk about the line, shape, colors, texture, you see in their work.
"I really like.... in your painting."
"It is interesting how you used lots of ....."
" How did you get that to do...that/"

Promote Self -Evaluations.
"Have you included everything you want to tell your story?"
" Does it look like it all goes together?"
"What is one thing you like about your piece? Why?"
"Is there something you don't like about your piece? Why?
"What is the most expressive part about the art?"

Encourage effort, enjoyment and risk taking.
 "What could be another way to use this tool?"
"It is fun and exciting to try new things/ways and see what happens."
" I am proud of you when you try hard things anyway."
"I am proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone. That's not easy and doesn't feel safe."
" We learn a lot from our mistakes. What we don't like or won't do again"
Your interest and your encouragement contribute daily to your children creative development. I was fortunate though my parents were not artist they encouraged me to try anything and everything. Bought me more supplies and sent me to classes. I now do the same for my four kids. I'm the mom who doesn't mind painting in the house, digging up our Pennsylvania clay to make pots. I give them the best quality materials I can. Keep sketchbooks and paper in the car for doctors appointments and waiting during practices etc.. Tell them they just learned what they didn't like when something doesn't go as hoped. Try again...But really....they are just another reason for me to have fun and play in paint!

Next Post: What NOT to say when talking to your kids about their art.
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