The Importance of Art

Today I draw a squiggle, Today I draw a curve, Today I see a page of lines-I’ve made from many swerves.

Today I hold the crayon tight, I bring it to the page, My fist is wrapped around this stick, Of colorful green- sage.

Soon I’ll hold my pencil up, In a tripod grip, I’ll draw my face or write my name, I’ll learn to use the tip.

From the squiggles and the lines, I’ll learn to draw and write. With some time and unforced play, I’ll learn to do it right! ck (C)

Art, it’s such an important tool for learning problem-solving (what will your learner put on the paper and where will he/she make a mark?). If your children don’t like what’s on the page, they can cover it all in black! (And btw, this is a developmental step.) What if they want to add blue trees to the self portrait? This is a form of planning.

Art is a tool for pre-reading readiness as children move through the developmental stages of random scribbling, to drawing open circles, moving to closed circles and beginning to draw self-portraits with eyes and a smile and possibly a big bow in the hair. Once you reach this stage you are seeing pre-reading in action. Pictures are representational thoughts and that is what letters are too.

Maybe your children could paint tennis balls and create the planets? This set is from beautiful round beach stones, that have been formed by the ocean! If you are interested in a planet set, let me know as this set is SOLD.

Art increases hand-eye coordination and it allows those muscles in wrists and hands to practice and strengthen. Think through what tools you will use. If you have a toddler, provide them a paint brush with a knob on the end. If you have an active learner that doesn’t want to experience art at the easel or the table, take him/her outside, provide a spray bottle with paint, and let the spray painting begin. (If you don’t want paint in the bottle, that’s okay–use water!) You can also provide a bucket with a painter-size brush and have your children paint the fence with water. Are they going to get wet? Probably, but it dries and the experience has been fun and beneficial for growth.

If you don’t have access to an art easel or it causes you to feel stressed out because the art area can be messy, take the paper outside.

Here are a few ideas to get you started as you have fun with art and your children!

Colored ice curbes made with food coloring. Freeze cubes on popsicle sticks. * Cut veggies and fruit in 1/2 – green peppers, apples, ptatoes. Use these for stamping. * Dip a fly swatter into paint and “swat” the paper. * Gather acorns, drop into the paint. Lay paper inside an empty shoebox. Roll paint-soaked acorns across the paper. * Use pine branches as brushes. * Paint with toothbrushes. * Tie a bunch of rubber bands to the end of a pencil or stick and use as a paintbrush. * Dye eggshells and make a collage. * Drop water balloons onto paper covered with wet paint. * Paint to music and allow the strokes to follow the beats of the music. * Use toothpicks or Q-tips to draw in wet paint already on a page. * Roll play cars and trucks through weat paint on a page-to make tracks. * Add color into shaving cream and let your children mix the cream with different colors– best done on a smooth surface outdoors. *Gather flowers, sticks, rocks and leaves. Put them out with a touch of glue and create self portraits from nature.

Remember to pay attention to muscle groups. Big muscles (upper arm) must have exercise and be developed before the real work begins on fine motor (hand muscles).

Have fun and when your children create a masterpiece, avoid asking, “What is it?” Choose to say instead, “I love your masterpiece. Tell me about it!” By allowing your child to describe what’s been produced, you have opened up an opportunity for conversation. Be sure to display the work. It’s an important non-verbal validation of your children’s efforts and they will notice!

Hope you have a fantastic day.

See you tomorrow.

CK

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