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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For the love of art

Last Friday, as I was bee-bopping through the blogosphere, I came across something that really resonated with me. It's called We Heart Art, and it's purpose is to promote art and creativity in our lives. For more details on We Heart Art please visit:




I feel strongly about giving kids the opportunity to express themselves and be creative. Early in my mommy days I struggled with this because I don't like messes. Finger paint is not my friend. But then one day I saw sheer joy radiate from my daughter when I gave her a paint brush and encouraged her to paint with chocolate pudding. She painted the paper... and her face... and her high chair... and her body... She was joy personified, and she was proud of what she'd done, and I was converted. I still strive to minimize mess and maximize creativity, but I've never looked back.

Here are my three tips for getting creative with your kiddo-s:


* Encourage art as a process, as opposed to a defined project. I firmly believe the majority of value kids receive is from the experience of figuring it out. Allowing our children to explore the process on their own terms develops creativity and encourages them to think and solve problems independently.


* Resist the urge to show examples of what their project "should" look like. Provide supplies and general guidelines, and let them take it from there.


* Ask your child to explain their creation. I'm amazed at the nuances in their projects that I would never have observed, let alone understood. It brings your appreciation to a whole new level.

Here's a peek at some of my favorite's



Spring flowers made by the whole family (inspired by faemom)





Rachel's apple still life (watercolor pencils), age 8




Hannah's flower still life (watercolor), age 6




Mommy's still life (water color pencils), age undetectable ;)



Now, go...

Paint with pudding

Sculpt with shaving cream

Blow paint bubbles

Make art!

57 comments:

Cairo Typ0 said...

I love it when kids are allowed to express themselves creatively. Art in its many forms is important in childhood development.

That said, i also have a thing about messes and only take my nieces and nephews OUT to be artistic lest they create too much mess. *blush*

Shawn said...

we love beads and pipe cleaners here! lots of fun and lots of things are 'sculpted'.

ScoMan said...

I agree with you on letting the kids imagination dicate their creativity rather than an outside influence stifling their art.

I never got into the art thing myself, which I think was because I was forever being controlled in terms of my creations.

ck said...

pudding and shaving cream...

i needed some ideas for the day.

thanks!

K said...

I love the art work.

My son and I are taking a preschool art class together this summer. I'm looking forward to it.

(All the fun and I don't have to deal with the mess, totally worth the $40.)

D said...

I love your advice on resisting the urge to show them what the finished product should look like.

I totally agree that the main fun in creating is "figuring it out yourself."

Great post Kathy!

TKW said...

WOW are those kids talented! And their mommy is very wise to let them do it "their way". Which looking at the pics, is absolutely the right way.

Megryansmom said...

Love it! Love love love being creative, hate the mess, mess make me shudder to even think about, but mess we will for the sake of art!

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Every one of those is great! I loved them, and thought your tips were fantastic as well. Thanks for sharing!!

{I Do Not Struggle with messes, do not struggle with messes, not at all, nope..}

Undercover-Princess said...

I would just eat the pudding...we have finger painted with yogurt before. Another fun one is shaving cream and food coloring.

~*Michelle*~ said...

Awesome art! Love feeling the "happiness" when I see those flowers in the window.

Tsquared417 said...

We heart messes and art over here in Ohio! Cool post...your apples are great! :)

*sara* said...

I love the flowers in the window!

Lindy said...

Thanks for this. I have been fighting the "it's too messy" for quite some time.

I think, tonight, we might just get our art on.

Tammy Howard said...

YAY!!!!!

These are such developmentally appropriate tips - thank you so much for sharing them!!!

All three of you do lovely work, by the way.

I just discovered 'We Heart Art' too and may post some of my little chickadees creative efforts, too.

Juls said...

WOW, WOW! I love the flowers on the window. Gorgeous! :) You are all quite artsy, loved the still life...amazing

King J's Queen said...

The flowers in the window are lovely. I like it when a family works on a project together.

Meg said...

WOW! Those are great! I especially love Hannah's flowers.

Sturgmom said...

I love the paper flowers. We may have to try those soon!

It is extremely difficult for me to quiet my inner Kate Gosselin and let the kids run free with the art supplies, BUT they do love it and I'm learning to let go. :)

Kristina P. said...

LOVE the flowers. I am not artistic. At all. So I hope that someday, I can find easy things to do with my future kids.

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

They are beautiful! Those are great tips, too - it's hard to let them just "do" sometimes.

Paging Doctor Mommy said...

It's like a whole family of artists!

I love the flowers in the window... I just may have to copy that idea from you!

the ungourmet said...

They are all so pretty! I really love the flowers in the vase! I would frame it and hang it on my wall!

-stephanie- said...

That's some great artwork. I love everything my kids draw for me.

zelzee said...

I love that you discovered this while the kids are young!

Messes can always be cleaned up!
Believe me, you can have that immaculate home once they are grown and gone............
you will miss the mess.

Helene said...

Kathy, I always learn so much from you!! Just recently I've learned to let go of the perfection and just let the kids create whatever they want with their imaginations, even if it means coloring the sky in a picture black or decorating each other's bare skin with fingerpaint. The messes can be cleaned up and the memories last a lifetime!!!

I'm so glad you participated in the carnival...your girls have some real talent and so do YOU!

Jen said...

We love art. I love to let me little ones create with whatever they find, chalk, dirt, snot. Its all good and its all art. ;)

Hajar Zamzam Ismail said...

What adorable art work. ;)

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm so glad to see people are supporting art. They've cut so many programs down here and being an artist of the literary sort, it's terrible to see children denied the oppertunity to be creative.

Jo said...

How fun! Those are great art shots! :)

Susie said...

What wonderful pieces and tips!! I am going to have to try some of that to cover our rainy days this summer:-)

for a different kind of girl said...

What fun art pieces you have shown us! Love the flowers in the window. I also love going through my kids' work - mostly my youngest now since my 11 year old isn't in an art program in middle school - and asking him what he's created. The stories he tells me as we're looking at his drawings or paintings are almost as inspired as the work itself, and many of them are now framed and placed around the house.

Grand Pooba said...

I wish I had kids to show off thier art, god knows you don't wanna see anything of mine!


(Excellent still life!)

Laoch of Chicago said...

Right on, as my hippie mother would have said.

Mary K Brennan said...

As I'm writing this post, the kids are in the other room with playdoe. There have been a few screams, but I'm trying to give some creative freedom. I'm afraid I will return to find someone covered in playdoe. I guess that's what it is all about.
Love the kids art. I think those family projects are the best.

faemom said...

Rachel does a WAY better apple than I can ever do. I do love those flowers. (We got to get around to doing those.) And I sit with the paints, brushes, and paper towel rolls, waiting for the boys to get up so we can make our very own pirate spy glasses. Arrr. Yea Art!

countryfriedmama said...

I consider my discomfort with mess to be one of my great failings as a mother. I know messy is supposed to be fun. It just doesn't feel fun. But I am trying to change and grow...

i am the diva said...

those are awesome! i love creating with children because it dissolves MY creative blocks!

WhisperingWriter said...

I should try to do some of those things with my kids. Messes make me cringe though.

And I'm not crafty in the least. I've tried several times but things get glued onto me by accident and I get frustrated.

But I may pick up a few paints and let the kids go wild...just not TOO wild...

bernthis said...

I'm very very impressed with your piece as well as those of your kids.The fine artist gene does run in your family, seriously.

passionsandsoapboxes.com said...

Let them go... let them be dirty. It is against our nature to do this but we have to. Kudos for making the leap.

Gibby said...

I love those flowers, too. I might have to look that one up.

I admit, I am one of those moms who hates the mess. Paint, clay, even playdough. I need to be better about that. I do love the artwork they bring home from school and have a lot of it framed passing as expensive artwork. Do I get any points for that?

Great post, great ideas.

Kate said...

I also think that art is so important and definitely not used in the classroom enough. I love your pictures, great examples.

Hit 40 said...

My boys are origami nuts!! They have races at restaurants while we wait for food to see who can make a swan the fastest out of the paper placemat!!!

Missy said...

These are beautiful art projects! I agree completely! Art is so important!

Yaya said...

Wow I love those first flowers!

Pop and Ice said...

My kids are way beyond the art phase, except for my daughter that is learning digital photography, but I think that you should frame your still life. I think it's great!

thedomesticfringe said...

I love the little flowers in your window. Great project.

-FringeGirl

Kristen said...

Oh such a great post! I think it is so important for kids to be creative!

Ink said...

Wow, that art is better than anything I could do! Way to go, creative kids!

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

I'd like to get into the art a little more with Jonathan. He makes such a mess now but boy is it fun to do. I love to get him to sit down and be calm for a bit!

3 Bay B Chicks said...

You know that I really don't comment during promotion weeks, my friend, but for you and this lovely post, I'll do just about anything.

In my sleep deprived state, I stalk, and you must know that I am always stalking your site. I feel like you are really hitting your stride as a blogger. It has been amazing to watch, but everything you have published on your front page right now makes my heart sing.

You may have been on your way to be a doctor at one point in time, but you have a real talent for writing and making people laugh.

-Francesca

Michele said...

Yeah, right. We used to fingerpaint and make collages and do leaf rubbings and all that other - ahem - as my aunt Flo used to say - happy horsesh*t. 8 kids later, my enthusiasm has waned considerably. Listen, lady, I don't go around asking for moremesses to clean up. How many times do you think I was dropped as a child???


Wow, that felt surprisingly good!

Having said that, I don't really disagree with you. I just wish I had more of your energy. I also wish that every art project didn't end with me needing to get out the hose...

The Blonde Duck said...

Totally brilliant idea. We should have a blog puppy party. I thought Michelle the coconut could come as an ambassador.

Michele said...

I'm glad you weren't offended by my comment! LOL

I just checken, and I have no clue how to enable email, or I would gladly do it for you, Kathy. ;-)

LadyFi said...

Are you my long-lost twin? You have expressed my EXACT feelings! Even though I am sometimes left sighing over our projects because of the mess, it is something I heartily encourage. As you say, it's mind-blowing when kids explain exactly what it is they have drawn.

I never tell my kids: Oh, that's nice. We say things like: You're so creative. What an orignal idea. I like your innovative thinking and stuff like that.

Another project you can do is just let your kids bake something, using their imaginations and no recipe. (I call this our edible art project.)

Bee and Rose said...

We are big on arts and crafts at our house! I love watching my kids create!