Do you want to help your child to be more creative or artistic? This post offers tips and ideas for how to encourage kids of any age to be creative. Kids are naturally more creative and artistic than adults. Their imaginations are typically alive and seeking direction. Not all kids’ creative or artistic potential is obvious, so offering inspiration can be helpful to see if any kind of creative spark can be generated with some ideas.
Here are some ideas for inspiring and directing creative energy at any age.
- Always have art supplies on hand and accessible.
- Designate an area where your child can create (and make a mess), even if it’s at the kitchen table (as long as the mess is cleared away by the time you need to use it for meals;-)
- Be patient and encouraging. Your own attitude toward creating art will be a backdrop and will feed into your child’s attitude. If you get upset about mistakes, wasting materials, making a mess, etc., your child will most likely become discouraged. Keep it fun! (Naturally, you want to teach your child about caring for and respecting materials, and not being TOO wasteful, but by keeping your attitude informative, light and fun, the lessons will be absorbed rather than being discouraging.)
- Ask your child to draw or paint something to hang in their bedroom (or in any room, but in choosing their bedroom first, they seem to have more “ownership” and may be more selective and invested in what they create).
- Offer some ideas of a subject related to things they like – super heroes, fairies, animals, or whatever tends to spark their interest otherwise.
- Open the options of what to draw or paint on to things other than paper…sometimes offering an inexpensive canvas, drawing board, or some other type of surface tends to generate more interest.
- Similarly, offer media beyond pencils, crayons and markers…try watercolor paints or watercolor pencils, chalk or oil pastels, acrylic paints, or various collage materials. Moving beyond pencil and crayons can be infinitely more fun for kids and creates an activity that is more adventurous.
- Consider enrolling your child in a local art class that suits his or her level and interests.
- Spend time creating WITH your child, each working on your own projects.
When my daughter was about 3 years old, we decided to create some small canvas paintings for her bedroom. She had a blanket on her bed which she loved – it was covered in pastel birds. She called them “company birds.” One day I asked her why she referred to them as company birds, and she said they kept her company at night. I loved that! We decided that we’d create paintings of “company birds” for her walls (which made the project infinitely fun for her).
I had her choose some background colors – one for each canvas, and she helped paint each canvas with a background color.
Then I asked her to draw a bird on each canvas (these were very simple bird shapes), and I outlined her drawings with a permanent marker.
She then chose another color to paint each bird.
The project was simple, fun, and produced some beautiful and whimsical paintings for her bedroom.
When she was 4 years old, I gave her a canvas and some acrylic paint and let her use her imagination to create whatever she wanted. She painted a picture of her and her best friend. The canvas is still hanging in our home 10 years later, and she’s been painting and drawing ever since.
If your child has any creative bone in their body, getting them enrolled in art lessons will help them soar artistically. They will learn different skills to use in their art and will also see that every child has their own style and grows and learns at different paces.
Art classes are wonderful for building not only building skills, but also confidence. Whether the art class is aimed at learning to draw animals, anime, portraits, still life, figure drawing, or anything at all…it’s a way to learn what they enjoy most and help encourage their path as a creative individual.
Creativity has value beyond creating art – it helps kids to think creatively and solve problems creatively. It offers an outlet for emotions, gives them something to do besides video games or being glued to their phones. It gives them something productive to think about and put their energy toward.
Here are some photos of art my daughter has created over the years by using the strategies above…
Art by Gillian Pruteanu (currently age 14)