“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Thankfully, we are created in God’s image. What does that mean? Simply put, we are a creative people. The beauty of creating—the beauty of art—is a precious gift. Sharing this gift with your children is a wonderful way to show appreciation for it. Art in its simplest form, in the hands of a child, is such a natural way to teach children about God and His gifts. Here are some fun art activities you can try.
Impressionism is a delightful art form. Its beauty comes from its simplicity. Impressionistic artists create “impressions” of life. Without the pressure to create an intricately detailed rendition of his or her subjects, the artist has the freedom to just create! Though greatly criticized initially, impressionistic artists in the early years of this form banded together and created a place to showcase their avant-garde creations. It’s a wonderful art form to study and imitate. Typical subjects ran the gamut from the quieter countryside and gardens to busy city life, railroad stations, parks, and riverbanks.
One simple way to mimic the impressionistic style is to sponge paint. Ordinary household sponges from the local dollar store work perfectly. Cut them up into smaller, more easily handled shapes. Then simply dip in the paint, blot a little, and create.
A Grainy Impression
Impressionists sometimes painted with thick globs of paint, mixing colors directly on their canvases. Adding some sand or sugar to your paints imitates this bold, textured style.
Art Out and About
Art is everywhere. Everywhere you look, art is growing, shining, washing ashore, blowing in the wind, or being held in your hand. Take your children out into God’s awesome creation and create. It’s great fun! Your young ones won’t want for inspiration, that’s for sure.
Keeping a visual record of your discoveries from nature is a great way to learn. It also gives students the opportunity to record growth and changes through the seasons.
Paint Like the Greats
Paint a la maniere de, or in the same manner as, Pablo Picasso. Show your children how to mimic the great nineteenth-century artists in Paris who painted along the streets of Montemartre, a historic Parisian village once home to many great artists. Equipped with paint, paper, and easel, take your artistic talent on the road. Set up on the cobblestone sidewalks of a nearby historic town; next to a scenic steam train station, much like those brave new impressionists did; on the sidewalk right in front of your own house if you live in a busy, active neighborhood; or at a nearby lake or park. The possibilities are endless, so don your berets and make some masterpieces.
There’s nothing like the feel of warm sand between your toes . . . ahhhh! For those of you who live near the beach, sand is a great artistic medium. While the ocean temperature may still be a tad chilly at this time of year, the sand should be just right on a warm spring day.
Proximity to a beach is optional, however. We here at the Doll house didn’t have the luxury of living close to the beach, but we did have access to a large handmade sandbox, courtesy of Dad. Have sandbox, will sculpt!
Do you have a budding photographer in your midst? In this digital world we live in, capturing breathtaking sunsets, infant spring blooms, rare bird sightings, and more is child’s play. Digital cameras set you up for success. Your children can delete poor photos and try, try again until they succeed.
Capturing art in a photograph takes creativity and skill. Teach your children about composition, lighting, creating a focal point, balance, and background.
Photojournalists travel the world in search of amazing stories to tell. Amazing stories, though, can be found marching down Main Street in celebration of July 4, at a nearby nursing home, in the pets anxiously awaiting a home at a local animal shelter, or at the mom-and-pop business in town. Wherever there are people, there are great stories just waiting to be told. Help your children brainstorm story ideas and sources. Your child just may be part of history in the making!
What child doesn’t love to slurp up long, wiggly spaghetti noodles? Although I don’t want to condone children playing with their food, this particular activity is hands-on spaghetti madness. After pasta has cooled to the touch, it’s ready spaghetti!
Place the wiggly medium in a large bowl in the center of the table with your children seated around it. Equip them with a variety of colorful construction paper canvases and demonstrate spaghetti’s remarkable property of stickiness. As they create, ask your children to describe their masterpieces.
Works of Art Memory Game
Put your memory to work with the works of art memory game. Miniature replicas of famous art pieces are available at arts and craft stores, online, or in homeschool curriculum catalogs. There are a variety of ways to play this game. Following the rules of the standard memory game, make matches with the artist’s name, style of art, period, etc., and print on cards the same size as the replicas.
Add a Little Artistic Flair to Other Subjects
Combining art instruction with other subjects can make creating art more meaningful as well as improve a child’s potential for learning. It’s easy to incorporate art into most subjects, especially language arts, social studies, science, and Bible study. Research shows that when children use several different senses to learn, their brains create multiple connections to the concepts being taught. This enables them to process information more effectively and thus to remember more.
Children can capture settings, characters, and major plot scenes on paper. They can illustrate scientific concepts, Bible verses, and important events from history lessons to aid understanding.
During read-aloud time, your children may enjoy busying their little hands with a craft while listening. Some children just need something to do. Crocheting, building Lego castles, making beaded jewelry, coloring, and other activities can all be done quietly while still listening attentively.
The act of creating with your children, as well as sharing appreciation of God’s magnificent gift of creation, gives thanks and praise to the Lord. As homeschool parents, you have unparalleled opportunities to inspire, mold, and encourage creativity in your children. We live in a beautiful world! Nourish the sense of wonder in your children early on, and they’ll be blessed with a creative spirit for life. May God bless your creative efforts!
Karen Doll and her husband, David, enjoy country life in eastern Pennsylvania. They homeschooled their children, Emily and Jeremy, from preschool through high school. Karen is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about homeschooling and chicken-keeping, as well as sharing healthy recipes and stories about country life, on her blog, Mamabirdy’s Country Chat. Stop by for a visit at http://karenadoll.blogspot.com.