Getting children involved in the arts from as early on as toddlerhood has proven to be integral to their early development. Not only does it give them an outlet for self-expression, but it can also help them build a sense of community and relate to others with more empathy. Try some of these tips for exposing children to the art community so that the creativity can begin!
1. Provide art supplies
Any artist knows that one of the best ways to get involved in the arts is to take the hands-on approach and create your own masterpieces. By providing children with an assortment of materials to keep at their disposal, you show them that art is something they can create any time they want.
If you have the space available, renovating part of a room into a fun “creativity corner” for children can foster a creative environment that will help get their artistic ideas flowing. Try using a roll of paper to provide an endless supply of drawing space, and supplement it with an organizer full of crayons, colored pencils, and age-appropriate markers.
2. Create an inspiration board
Look through online galleries, art books, and magazines to help kids discover which styles of artwork they like best. Copy, print, or cut inspiring images from discarded magazines and have the budding artist fill an inspiration board with their favorites.
For an added touch, help label each art piece featured on the inspiration board with the name of the artist. This will not only provide kids with a set of artistic role models, but will also remind them that behind each great piece of artwork is a person who put in a lot of effort, just like them.
3. Take local art classes
Many community centers and public libraries will occasionally host art classes for children. Whenever possible, take your child to art classes where they can learn how to hone their skills, communicate creatively with others, and gracefully accept constructive criticism. Children draw a lot of encouragement from seeing their peers learning and having fun alongside them, and learning about art in a classroom setting provides them with the opportunity to learn from their teachers and fellow students alike.
Constructive criticism can help an aspiring artist learn far faster, and it’s important for children to learn how to accept it without feeling discouraged. Finding a great art teacher who offers local classes can empower your child to improve their work based on feedback and form healthy relationships with other artists.
4. “Read” wordless picture books together
Hit up the nearest library or bookstore and pick out some wordless picture books to enjoy and talk about together. This will provide an excellent prompt for the discussion of how concepts can be conveyed with pictures alone, and will get your child’s creative gears turning as they contemplate new ideas of their own.
Looking through wordless picture books will give any aspiring young artist some guidelines on how to translate verbal messages into visual representations. Exposing them to this visual language will help them understand how important it is for people to use pictures to communicate their thoughts and feelings to one another.
5. Attend local art shows or exhibits
Local art shows are a perfect way for your artistic child to observe people coming together to appreciate art as a community. Art shows grant opportunities to converse with artists about their work and creative processes, and often provide informational resources on the local art scene as well. Art shows usually also include live music and food which will add to a well-rounded experience for children who are just getting started in the art community.
If art shows are not frequently hosted in your area, art museums and library exhibits are good alternatives. While the atmosphere isn’t nearly as festive, the core element of appreciating artwork curated from many different sources is still there, and your child will still get the chance to compare art of various styles.
Getting children involved in art can help them build key communication skills and forge important connections within their local community. By creating artwork of their own, attending art shows whenever possible, and learning about the creations of others, children can reap rewards that will last them a lifetime.