Looking for a fun craft to do with your child? Grab a piece of paper and look around the house for at least two different types of art supplies. Art supplies can include items such as markers, crayons, tissue paper, glue, feathers, toilet paper rolls, yarn, shoe boxes and magazines. Decide or discuss with your child what the purpose or theme of your art project will be. For children under the age of three, it is a good idea to give two to three different choices. When giving choices, offer art supplies to them and ask which one they would like to use, “Would you like to paint with q-tips, blocks or feathers today?”

Model on your own piece of paper what you are expecting. “I’m going to dip my feather into my paint and paint on my paper. I think I’ll choose red paint first.” Dip the feather and begin to paint. Now offer it to your child. “Would you like to try?” Allow his creativity to be used and again offer two to three colors of paint. This type of art is called Process Art because you are focusing on the process of creating instead of what the end product will look like. For young children, it should not matter if their pictures look like Mommy’s or something completely different. The important part is that they made it and they are proud of it!

Art can be as simplistic or as complex as you or your child would like to make it. Some simple and quick art ideas include:
• Ten minute finger painting
• A crayon drawing or feather painting on a paper plate
• Tracing his hand and gluing it on paper to make a turkey

More complex art projects include:
• A week or even a month-long process of creating a collage of your child’s favorite things. Cut out pictures from old magazines and glue them on or use modge podge paste on a poster board.
• Create a storybook about a day or event in your child’s life. Write down details about your child’s day and have your child draw pictures correlating to those details. Have your child use colored pencils, crayons or markers when drawing the pictures. Staple your child’s artwork together to create a storybook about his day and read it together as a family.

Remember that asking, “What is that?” can be discouraging to a child. Instead ask, “Can you tell me about your picture?” and encourage his self -esteem through positive affirmation. Positive affirmation can include facts about his creativity. For example, “I like how you mixed blue and red together here in the corner!” Hang his masterpieces on the fridge, in a frame or on his wall to show your pride in them. There is no wrong way to create art and everyone has his/her own individual creativity. Keep art projects light-hearted and fun and remember that the mess can always be cleaned up, but the memories of a good time will last forever!

What kinds of art projects do you like to create with your child?

Kara Rivera works in the Special Care Nursery at Penfield Children’s Center.

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