We have a mixed relationship with art. In the realm of arts & crafts, I am a crafter. My son avoids participating in either 98% of the time, but gets interested when exploring the works of others. We recently attended his first art exhibit and he thoroughly enjoyed the pieces on display. He also has favorite stories that feature art, will point out pieces he likes when we come across them, and expresses amazement over what people can produce. I get the feeling if he could create visible art with his mind, he would; it’s the sitting down and picking up a tool of the trade that loses him. Thankfully, art is a broad and universal language that manages to have room for all of us, whether we produce it, collect it, critique it, or merely appreciate it.

Out in the Community:

  • You may not be in the market, but visit places where artwork is displayed for sale, whether a fancy gallery or local eatery.
  • If your town has an arts council, they may provide free exhibits or even have ones you can enter submissions for.
  • Do you have local pottery shops or other craftspeople in your area? They may be willing to give you a tour.
  • Grab a bin of chalk, invite the neighbors, and hit any stretch of pavement you can find. A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang is a beautiful story of a girl who uses her artistic skills to show a grieving widower how to find his way back and might offer some ideas for creating a meaningful sort of project – perhaps a map to peace.

Lesson Building Blocks:

  • Paint with water. My reluctant artist actually loves this! If you have some slate or other dark rock, use that – or grab some brown paper packaging and hang it on an exterior wall in a sunny spot. The pictures rapidly evaporate, so a small area can accommodate a large amount of painting.
  • Try some loose-parts art with Get Blown Away, based off of the book Windblown, by Edouard Manceau.
  • Use paint to create a dialogue or work through an issue. Sam & Eva by Debbie Ridpath Ohi tells how two children overcame their differences in this way.
  • Learn about an artist in-depth by using the interview techniques described in “If I Were You…” to try to get inside their head.
  • Channel a little Max (Art & Max, our favorite art book) or some Jackson Pollack and get wildly creative and messy. Outdoors is probably best! In fact, this is an excellent art project for a snow day – just grab some food coloring and water and fling it at the white canvas of snow. Otherwise, an excellent early tip I learned: invest a couple dollars on vinyl tablecloths (shower curtain liners work too) and use them to protect the splatter zone for any and all projects,
  • Get some social dialogues going by mixing art with exploring issues we face and try the Spread a Little Kindness activity to create a poster with a message.
  • Look at a single subject in multiple ways across various mediums, as depicted in Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum.

Try this quick art game for the whole family when you need a break from bookwork.

I love color, thus I love Kandinsky, who could “hear” color.