Art in Early Childhood and beyond ….

“The Earth without art is just ‘eh'” – Demetri Martin

The above quote is so true. It has been and continues to be totally relevant in our society.

Art gives us a medium to express ourselves- our emotions, values, culture, helps us be open to new ideas and experiences and overall gives a new perspective to our life. Art enhances the mind and helps build creativity. This can be applied in other mainstream subjects and help children master a concept.

  • Montessori Map Making - Healthy Beginnings Montessori House

“The activity of art is based on the capacity of people to infect others with their own emotions and to be infected by the emotions of others. Strong emotions, weak emotions, important emotions or irrelevant emotions, good emotions or bad emotions – if they contaminate the reader, the spectator, or the listener – it attains the function of art.”– Leo Tolstoy

Is Art important for young children?

How much or how little exposure to art should be provided to young children?

Children 0-6 years of age have an Absorbent mind. This combined with Sensitive periods in child development will make it easier for a child to learn an art form, way quicker than when they are older. Exposure to art forms without any pressure or judgment should be provided to the child to observe their strengths and also provide a means of self-expression.

According to Dr. Maria Montessori,” Language is the most powerful instrument of human progress”. For young children, ‘art’ is a form of self-expression even before they can begin talking. Babies respond to music, sounds in nature, visual images, observe smaller details in everything around them. Toddlers enjoy the process of finger painting, mixing colors, playing with play dough while the older preschoolers try to create an image of their family or friends, use nature to make designs, observe what colors are light and which ones are dark etc.

How to start

Create a “Self- Expression” shelf or corner in a room.

What can it include

(Size and number of materials to be adjusted based on age/ability of the child. Adult supervision recommended)

Sketch pad

writing materials like color pencils/crayons

paint

paintbrushes

different texture add-ons like stickers, glitter, play dough, pom pom etc.

When to start

Can be started for Infants, as young as 6-9 months

Focus on “Process art” over “Product art”

Rather than having a child recreate someone else’s art form or pitching in to help complete their work- let the child create their own “masterpieces”using materials provided.

A child’s art should be representative of their age and be their ‘own’ work. This can also help measure how much progress they have made or what skills they have refined over the course of time.

Provide a variety of materials/mediums for child to work with- let them get creative, learn problem solving skills as they put stuff together using their imagination.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Water painting: Use water and paintbrush. Draw images, letters and numbers on sidewalk using them and magically watch them disappear due to Evaporation.
  2. Finger painting: A great sensorial activity for young children to dip their fingers into paint and make tiny prints on paper. Makes a cute keepsake and gift for different occasions.
  3. Use old catalogs/sale papers to cut out images and create a collage.
  4. Use nature to create different images
  5. Use Kitchen paper towel/Toilet paper rolls for making different designs
  6. Paint pistachio shells/draw on it with marker for a relaxing calming project.
  7. Hold pom poms/cotton balls with clothespin, dip into paint and make designs.
  8. Paint on shells
  9. Open up a cardboard box outdoors: put some glue on it and have child spray colored sand/salt/powder on it. Super fun
  10. Tape resist technique: Put masking tape on a paper or trace a leaf & fill in veins using masking tape. Paint using water colors. Let dry for a bit and gently take off the tape.
  11. Paint with q-tips
  12. Try Vertical painting: Hang up a paper on the wall or from a window and have child paint on it. This helps with strengthening the wrist for writing preparation and bilateral coordination for holding things/turning pages in a book etc.
  13. Make and decorate cookies/cakes
  14. Try homemade or store bought stamps
  15. Paint with balloons(great outdoor activity)
  16. Make design using bubble wrap and paint over it or put paint on bubble wrap design and press down on another blank paper
  17. Paint rocks
  18. Color on top of leaves with markers and press down on paper to make lovely leaf impression
  19. Place white paper on leaf and rub crayon on it(take off wrapper before doing so) for a colorful leaf design.
  20. Place white paper on coins and rub gently with color pencils to make impression.

The List is endless …… Let children explore, experiment, be imaginative, be creative, relax and calm themselves through ART.

In addition to providing materials and opportunities for children to express themselves through Art, read books on different art forms & artists, visit art museums, Observe other artists’ works, take a family art class to bond.

Let’s not forget …

“Every child is an artist, The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” – Pablo Picasso

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