Kids are naturally creative and enjoy expressing themselves through various art forms. Grandparents can help to encourage their grandchildren’s artistic endeavours by providing materials and participating hands-on with their grandchildren as they explore various media.
Young children are often uninhibited in their expressiveness happily creating without regard to the idea that there might be “right” and “wrong” ways to use materials.
In order to allow children to be truly engaged in their art, this type of attitude should be promoted and encouraged to last as long as possible.
All too often, creativity is squelched in young children by well meaning adults who try to guide kids to repeat what has been done before, rather than allowing them the freedom to create in their own unique methods and styles.
Cookie-cutter productions of projects may have their place, but truly original art is much more valuable. Grandparents should stress fun and experimentation when working on art projects with their grandkids, rather than focusing on preconceived outcomes.
Grandparents who keep a few art supplies on hand will make it easy and convenient for their grandchildren to create little masterpieces when they come to visit.
Depending on the ages and individual interests of the children, materials can vary from basic to advanced. A well stocked art cabinet may include:
- Assorted papers, both colored and plain, in various sizes and textures.
- Colored pencils
- Chalk, both colored and plain white
- Charcoal pencils
- Finger paints
- Water paints
- Tempera paint
- Acrylic paints
- Paintbrushes in various sizes
- Modeling clay
- Glue or paste
In addition to the above traditional art supplies, everyday items are often useful in the production of children’s art projects.
Things like pipe cleaners, masking tape, clear tape, small jars, paper bags, cotton balls, fabric scraps, yarn, colored pasta, rice, seeds, egg cartons and buttons might come in handy, as may items from nature such as leaves, acorns, rocks, feathers, and seashells.
By providing a wide variety of materials, grandparents can help their grandchildren to see countless possibilities.
From Setting Up to Cleaning Up
By preparing the area in advance and protecting tables, chairs, and flooring from the inevitable spills, the focus can be on fun, rather than worry. Oilcloth is very useful as a table cover, providing a moisture resistant yet flat working surface.
Large plastic trash bags make wonderful chair covers and an old plastic tablecloth, spread under, rather than over the table, makes clean up easy once the project is complete.
Inexpensive plastic cups work well to hold paintbrushes and other writing tools, while shoeboxes or other similarly sized containers can help to keep miscellaneous supplies organized and within close reach.
Paper towels or cloth rags should be kept on hand for use both while the creative juices are flowing and once the artwork is ready to be displayed.
Involving kids in every step, from set up to clean up, will help them to understand and appreciate all that goes into making the day possible, and just may help them to be a bit more careful as they create!
While simply providing supplies and a comfortable place to create art projects is sufficient, grandparents who work side by side with their grandchildren as they create their projects make the experience more fun and memorable for both generations.
Grandparents can expect some mess and a few mishaps, especially with the youngest artists in the family (you didn’t really like that old rug anyway, did you?!), but with a little patience and a good attitude, the finished products will be well worth the time and effort.
The time spent together learning and chatting can turn a fun afternoon into a lifetime memory.