Your little ones love to draw and paint with whatever they can get their hands on! Children make art to express their emotional lives and personality development. There are three general stages of graphic development, which we will only introduce in this article:
- Manipulative (ages 2-5) exploring & experimenting; scribbling to simple drawing
- Symbol Making (ages 6-9) drawing things resembling the actual objects
- Preadolescent (ages 10-13) conceptual & abstract thinking develops
It is important to talk to your children about their art and to encourage their artistic development. Look at their art together, and ask questions! Don’t be afraid to ask what something is. Ask them why they put it in their picture, why they made the picture, and let them tell a story about their art (if there is one to tell). As they develop, you can start asking questions like “Why did you use that color?” Be sensitive to their needs, however, if it is clear they do not want to discuss it, don’t push. If you feel their art is consistently troubling, speak with the school or seek out a professional, but don’t panic.
It is also good to expose children to the art world. With today’s technology it is easy to find images of art anywhere, but nothing can replace the experience of the real thing! Take a family trip to the Springfield Art Museum or go on a refreshing Art Walk downtown. And here are some ideas to make for an enriching experience for your children.
- Take your time. Also, have children pay attention to other viewers to get a feel of viewing time; noticing if some works had longer viewing times. Ask children why they think that is.
- Encourage children to determine their own viewing pace.
- Bring magnifying glasses for close examination! Maybe even a sketchbook.
- Be careful of “museumitis!” when children are tired or hungry, there’s little attention to art.
- Catalogs are useful before and after viewing!
- Not all works will ‘speak’ to everyone. Encourage children to view works that they are drawn to.
- Discuss the experience.
Ask children what their favorite piece was, having them describe it in detail so that everyone can imagine or remember what it looked like. This will also allow the child to think about the art, how it was made, the colors used and so on. Talk about why it might have been made, why certain materials were used and most importantly why they liked it. You may also encourage children to make their own version! As always, happy art making!
P.S. Check out F.A.D. Free Art Days and more at the Creamery Arts Center
Hurwitz, Al and Day, Michael. Children and Their Art. 8thEdition; Thomson Wadsworth, 2007