Imagine a piece of art you love. Odds are what you are picturing is something that is an original masterpiece created with the imagination of an individual. It is NOT likely you are imagining something that someone created in an attempt to copy another's work.
The criteria we use for selecting our art (and science) activities is very simple. It's got to be something that causes the children to explore or reexplore a unique experience. The activities we do are also based around a process your child goes through as opposed to a product he or she creates.
Our goal in our art is to supply the children with an opportunity to explore and interact with various colors, textures, etc. Our goal is NOT to create a model and ask your child to replicate that model. We do not believe that is art, but craft. It can be stifling and perhaps even discouraging to children, as they may not desire to mimick the model and may not be capable of achieving the mimick of the model to their desired perfection. Our goal is to build confidence in children by simply allowing them to create as they wish and to expand their understanding of colors and materials through their exploration.
Because of our process-oriented view, you've quite possibly seen more paint come home on hair, clothing, and skin than you have on paper. Children are notorious for doing "too much". Many of their products begin by looking "beautiful" and then they just keep going...by the time the art is finished, the product is not something that is even salvageable. This is alright, because again...the process is what matters here...not the product.
An activity from today...
"Rainbow" crayon making-
- stock up on the broken pieces of crayons you find, rather than throwing them away
- Set the oven to pre-heat to 350 degrees. Peel the paper off the crayons. Allow the children to put a fun mixture of colors of the crayon pieces into each of the cups in a muffin tin. Place tin in oven and turn oven off. Watch for crayons to be melted.
- Place immediately in freezer for about 30-40 minutes (or until solid). Crayons will pop out of muffin tin when turned over onto a soft surface (so they don't break).
- Wait until crayons are at room temperature to use for coloring.
When we did this today, Kira facilitated a thought-provoking conversation about what would happen to the crayons when they were in the oven...would they get harder, softer, bigger, smaller, etc?
NOTE: I provided the details of this activity because I thought it might be something fun you could do with your children at home.
IDEA: When your child presents you a piece of art he or she has made, try a simple, "I see" or "Oh" (in positive tone) as opposed to what can be our instinct of simply saying, "it's beautiful" or "I love it". You may be surprised. Generally, children say to us "mommy, daddy, look!" in order for their art to be seen. They are not, however, asking for our opinion on it. Providing our opinion only encourages them to aim for the art that pleases us, rather than the art that their hearts desire to create. Please allow your child the opportunity to come up with his or her own opinion about the art that's been created!