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Enjoying Art with Your Children

Tips on how to get your family art center started!

Enjoying art with your children starts with you! Yes, I know. Maybe you don't appreciate art. Or perhaps you feel inept. Or maybe you think you just don't have time in your busy lives. IF any of these excuses are yours (especially the last excuse) please refer back to my blog post Why Art Now? (

Here are some ideas that will help you establish a creative foundation for art in your home:

1. Have the supplies! You wouldn't consider not having the tools you need to do your work. It is the same for children. They need the right tools. Look for them on sale at craft stores, garage sales, or even thrift stores. I picked up a nice set of new watercolor tubes at my local thrift store a few days ago for a minimal price.

Art supplies go beyond crayons, which by the way, I love.

My List Suggestions: watercolors, decent watercolor brushes (not the kind that comes in with the tray), oil pastels (a nice upgrade to crayons), colored pencils, colored markers, tempera paints, and I love the black sharpie (supervised as it is permanent)!

Other supplies would include newspapers, magazines, colored paper, tissue paper, cardboard taken from packing, corrugated cardboard, watercolor paper, computer paper, string, yarn, buttons, boxes, wood bits, wood glue, white school glue, mod podge, etc.

Keep the supplies stored in a couple of containers close by the kitchen.

2. Encourage mixed media and improvising when the right supplies are not available. This enables creativity and invaluable decision-making processes.

3. Open up to Art History with books, prints, museum trips, and exploring on the internet. Look at the artists' techniques and try duplicating. Consider studying their lives, their work, and their style. Research other artists in the same period.

4. Let them create while you read to them. Have your child keep their fingers busy along with their minds. Give them crayons or oil pastels and paper. Or set up the supplies to do watercolor while you are telling them a story. This is especially helpful for the child that has trouble sitting during a story. It is a wonderful way for them to practice their art while capturing a mood of a story.

5. Take a sketchbook outdoors or set up an easel. I buy inexpensive newsprint used for packing (where you buy moving supplies) and one or two colors of tempera for my easel. Sponge brushes, utility brushes, or fat poster brushes work great! Offering art outdoors is the best! It often becomes an inspiring study in nature.

6. Let your child own their work. My rule is I try to not touch someone else's work. Positive comments noticing their color choices or placement of shapes is usually an excellent place to start a conversation about their work while keeping your hands off.

7. Learning the basics of drawing is a huge investment for your children. Ms. Rita offers Drawing Begins with a Line introductory classes for free at random times during the summer. Get on her list, and she will contact you. You can reach her here:

Find out who Ms. Rita is here:

Happy exploring to all big and little artists out there!

"Art can open the door to every subject." Rita Cheek


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