I love that young kids are naturally creative and artistic. When given the opportunity, each and every child has creativity inside of them. I think as parents, we often work so hard to entertain our kids (with toys and electronics), that we end up stifling their creativity. Sure, it may seem like the easy thing to do short-term, but I’m a firm believer that when kids are allowed to be “bored”, they’ll eventually tap back into that creativity and create amazing things!
My sister-in-law, Sarah, is both an amazing mom and an extremely talented artist (check out her work here). She’s got three little girls and encourages their creativity and artistry daily. I asked Sarah for her best tips for encouraging kids to be artistic, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
TIP 1: Have an ‘Art Cart’, ‘Art Drawer’, or ‘Art Basket’ READILY accessible.
The key is to have all your art supplies in one place that is easy for kids to access. We’ve had this cart from World Market for the last several years and I LOVE it. It’s on wheels so the kids can move it around the house whenever they want to start creating.
I originally used metal pails for the art supplies, but recently switched to plastic containers that work a lot better because they’re square so they don’t topple over. I also have some paper organizers from the Container Store that work great.
Our Favorite Art Carts
Our Favorite Art Storage Containers
TIP 2: Provide various art materials for kids (more than just crayons and paper).
Having a wide variety of art supplies ready for use will give your kids more opportunities to create! Not only will they draw pictures, but they’ll build towers, make their own toys, come up with boards games, create environments for their little people and animals, etc.
Some great art supplies to have available are scissors, glue sticks, washi tape, construction paper, watercolor paints, pipe cleaners, craft sticks, googly eyes, etc.
Our Favorite Art Supplies
TIP 3: Provide your children with ‘found objects’ every once in a while to help boost their creativity.
Surprise your kids every once in a while by leaving out new objects for them to create with. Small shipping boxes, empty toilet paper rolls, envelopes, cereal boxes, etc will spark new ideas and creativity.
TIP 4: Give them free reign!
Do you ever have the tendency to control your kids play? I find myself doing that sometimes, and I have to remind myself to let them be in charge of what they create and how they chose to play. That’s how they learn and benefit most, so make sure that as long as they’re not being destructive or hurtful, you give them free reign to be artistic however they chose to be.
TIP 5: LET IT BE A MESS. It will be. And you can clean it up later. Creativity is messy!
Messes are hard for me … I’m not going to lie. But over the years I’ve learned to let go a little bit and have been completely awe-struck at the things my kids create. No one likes to clean up messes, but it’s also a part of life. Does that mean we have to be maids all day long? No! Turn on some fun music and require your kids to help clean up the messes they made. Learning how to clean and organize might be just as important as learning to use your imagination.
A COUPLE ADDITIONAL NOTES
Use holidays, birthdays and other celebrations to give your kids art supplies instead of toys. That way you’ll consistently be refreshing the things you have on-hand and encouraging more creativity.
You may worry or wonder what to do with all the art your children create. Sarah likes to hang it on the fridge or in their room for a few days and then toss most of it. The really special things can be kept in a memory book, but it’s also important for kids to learn how to let go of things.
If you create an art cart/station at your house, I’d love to see you post it on Instagram and tag me @homegrowntraditions!