Sunday, May 6, 2012

Guest Post: How to Foster the Love of Arts in Your Children by John Conlow

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Our children can see that beauty more readily if we simply open the door of creativity to them! Through the following activities, any child can be shown how art can be used to express themselves. It can be as simple as a forming a ball of clay, or as complicated as mastering the art of printmaking.

1. Visual Art

Visual art is sculpting, painting, printmaking and drawing. However, not everything has to be made with the finest materials. For instance, if your child wants to sculpt, don’t worry about getting clay. Instead, use paper mache, play dough, or even wire. For smaller children, playing with home-made play dough can be a great start. Simply combine 1 cup of flour, ½ cup of salt, 2 tbsp of cream of tartar and 2 tbsp. of oil. Mix until all the ingredients are well-blended. You can also add small amounts of food coloring!

For a simple paper mache project, you will need newspaper strips. You will also need a form. For this, you can use a balloon, cardboard, toilet paper tubes or paper towel rolls. Take your objects and put them into the shape that you desire. You can use masking tape to hold your objects in place. Then, tear lots of strips of newspapers. This is going to be your clay. The paper-mache paste recipe is one part flour to two parts water. Make sure you stir out any lumps. Then, add 2 tablespoons of salt, as this will prevent molding.

Take one strip at a time of your newspaper and dip it into your paste. Lift your paper out and slide it through your fingers to remove the excess paste. Take the strip and place it onto your form. Press gently to make it lie smoothly. Repeat this step, laying strips over your form. You will need to let this dry for approximately twenty-four hours. Once your paper is completely dry, you can begin to decorate. You can also cut your paper-mache ball into two parts if you wish to make masks!

2. Performance Art

The performing arts are music, dance and theatre. To open the door to performing arts, make up simple plays. Let your children take their favorite book and act it out. Give each member of the family a role to play. You can add music for interpretive dance. Search the closets for some costumes! You can make sock puppets and use them for plays. Grab a few socks, button, ribbons, and some paint to create creatures from a story. Teach your kids your favorite songs to introduce them to music! Or, consider buying a recorder, whistle or other simple musical instrument.

It doesn’t cost a lot of money to create art with your children. As you can see, lots of the items described can be found in the cupboard, drawer or closet. You don’t have to be Da Vinci to create art and instill the love for it with your children. Just use your imagination.

John Conlow likes to write about parenting and saving money at

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