I'm writing about art for preschoolers this week because my daughter has done very little crafting, but a heck of a lot of drawing. She is obsessed at the moment, and is really exploring color, too. So much so, that even food cannot get in the way of this current passion - she doodles away on the paper towel that I put under her breakfast, lunch and dinner plates, so I am currently the proud owner of numerous sheets of beautifully decorated kitchen roll, including numerous rainbow designs like the one on the left, which I am working out how to effectively display in some kind of scrap book!
Engaging with children and their art is a wonderful way to connect and encourage, I feel. Don't simply say, "Oh, that's nice," and definitely never ask, "What's that?" - instead, talk about the shapes and colors and styles used. Comment on what you like about the picture, or why they decided to put that particular object there, or whether there is a story behind it. Today, I was telling my little girl how much I liked the way she had drawn the mountains in the background, and the pattern she had colored on the girl's dress. This led to her explaining more about what the picture meant to her and why she had drawn it.
They may only be young at this age, but don't let that put you off exploring the art world! I have been reading lots recently about introducing different artists to preschoolers, and I heartily agree with this idea.
I recently showed my daughter (4) some of my high school artwork, and she was particularly captivated by this pointillism painting I had done (right). So I explained a little bit about pointillism, impressionism, and Monet, and she expressed interest in having a go herself. As serendipity would have it, one of the books we had taken out the library, Katie and the Waterlily Pond, was about a little girl exploring an art gallery, and she magically hopped in and out of, yes, you guessed it, various Monet paintings whilst trying to paint her own impressionist painting! My little girl was now definitely hooked, and we're in the midst of starting an impressionist project as I write!
The beauty of art is that you can make it as simple or complex as you like - great for deconstructing artists and interpreting them at home for age appropriate activities!
One of the great things about art for kids is that, like crafts for kids, there is plenty of scope for recycling things! I'm slightly obsessed with melting things at the moment, especially with all the terrific ideas for melted crayon art and melted bead crafts. These projects do of course need adult supervision, but under-fives will just love the things you can do - such as seeing what amazing patterns and colors you can make on canvas with this Melted Crayon Art project by neeznoodle.
Another wonderful form of art for children is modelling with clay. We were using it out in the forest this week, making marvelous mini beasts at forest school (here's Pud's lovely ladybug on the left, decorated with twig legs, leaf wings and catkin spots!)
As this was a fun activity outdoors, the bug is left unbaked. For ideas at home, don't worry if you don't have access to a kiln for proper clay. There are lots of air drying clays available, as well as non-toxic polymer clays such as Fimo, that you can bake in the oven. You can also make salt dough or your own homemade clay too.
So, are you inspired? What masterpiece of artwork can you create with your children or grandchildren? If you have enjoyed some great art projects with your under-fives, please come and share them on the Little Crafty Kids Facebook page!
As always, happy crafting.
(c) All photos are copyright of the author