Here are some guidelines on helping the children you know to develop their artistic potential:
- Give your child space to be creative - All you need is paper and crayons, a small table or easel, and a child-size chair or cushion, in the corner of a playroom or bedroom.
- Show that you value art too - Join your child and do your own drawings, paintings, and model making.
- Encourage your child to respect the materials - Have them look after the paper, brushes and paints carefully.
- Provide as many different types of paint, paper and other paintable surfaces as you can. - You don't need to run up the tab in your local art shop, though. The back of an old envelope, the inside of wrapping paper, excess packaging from a visit to the supermarket, can all easily be converted into art materials.
- Let your child experiment with different tools and techniques. - Try collage and model making as well as with paints and crayons; with brushes of all shapes and sizes; with twigs, old toothbrushes, potato cuts, combs, sponges, bits of flannel. Anything goes, but make it clear what is out of bounds!
- Share pictures and illustrations. - Reflect the world in different ways so that your child can see that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to be artistic.
- Collect materials for art projects when you are out and about. - Twigs, sticks, leaves and grasses in the park, fabric from charity/thrift shops, stones and pebbles from beaches and riverbanks, can all be turned into something exciting and special.
- Recycle what you have around the house. - Roll up old plastic bags to make rope; keep wrapping paper from presents; give outdated magazines and last season's clothes a second lease of life.
- Create a display area for your child's work. - Use a wall of your kitchen or playroom and children's confidence gets a huge boost when their work is noticed and talked about.
- Talk to your child about pictures and images that you see when outside. - Visit art galleries and talk about the pictures you like and what they say to you.
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