Sunday, June 24, 2012

Little people making art

I paint with the kid’s I nanny a lot. So much that Little Man often wakes up from his nap and yells out “color!” instead of my name. One thing I’ve really enjoyed is watching them explore the different types of marks a paintbrush can make. When I paint with the older kids we work on stuff like mixing colors and all that jazz, but with little man it’s the pure enjoyment of making a mess. I used to hate art with the younger’s certainly a messy experience, but I’ve begun to appreciate watching them learn little things….like twirling a brush makes a circle. Or how I move my brush to make a spatter. His favorite part is not putting the paint on paper, it’s getting to pour the paint from the tube “all by himself”. 
There have been a few things I’ve noticed about kids in general while doing art:
1. the bigger the better
They want a huge piece of paper.
2. they want it to look real
I think most parents realize that art supplies are expensive, and they are…but there is something to be said for letting them use “the good stuff” I tape off edges for them, I use the nice paper. I try to make them feel like what they are doing is creating a long lasting work of art. If I give a kid some color wonder markers, they lose interest, but if I give them real “pro” markers and tell them they are exactly what I would use- I’ve seen some fierce  concentration there (and lets face it, I want them to concentrate so I don’t  have to come up with a new activity every 10 minutes). I also stress that it’s the nicer paper so they don’t start over. When they say, “I messed it up” I want them to think about how they could fix it instead of wasting.
3. no matter how much of a guide I choose to be, they are going to do their own thing
I think that’s the goal. If we’re making puppets and I say okay can you put the face on, I have to be okay with buttons covering every inch of it. If I explain that the sky meets the ground, I have to be okay if Butterfly Princess still disagrees with me.
4. they want to be in control
I feel like giving them suggestions (“ oh we should paint the sky today, oh we should make up animals today”) helps to get them started without making it to cookie cutter. They bring home a lot of “mass created” projects from school since there are more children to look after. I think coloring at home should allow more freedom.
Maybe. I’m new at this, but those  are at least some things I’ve noticed thus far.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! It's crazy how much better material makes a difference. And I love that you allow them freedom to explore -- I really dislike that in school we all have to do the same thing (even though that makes it easier for poor teacher). Yay for you for being an excellent nanny! :)


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