Updated on April 06, 2013
C.W. asks from Joplin, MO
12 answers

Do you encourage your children to do arts and crafts? Do you let them trace? What are some ways you encourage your child to participate or find the fun in the arts?

(This has nothing to do with situations. This is just a general question. I'm an artsy person and was curious to see if anyone had any budidng artists of their own or encourage them to try to be.)

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answers from Las Vegas on

Tracing, clay, twisting wreaths out of tree branches, i pad art, photography, photo editing, dance, music choices for performances, hair bows from school colors, coloring, stringing beads.

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answers from Portland on

We love art in our home. My son will usually gravitate toward his legos (almost 6 y.o.) but I will often sit down with him and start up on doing some drawing. Yesterday, we took out some old wallpaper samples my MIL sent and started doing collage work. Because I used to teach preschool, we have a large variety of supplies, plus a 'found objects' drawer for anything which lends itself to projects. (Think tea tins, containers, puff balls, buttons, paper plates, yarn, beads, chopsticks, odds and ends)

We go through a lot of paper. I don't often offer tracing, but we do regularly use books for a reference for drawing. Ed Emberly does some great step-by-step books. Kiddo also has a space for his markers, paper, tape, the stapler, crayons etc. Glue sticks and hole punches, brass fasteners, the watercolor pencils, ink pencils, temperas and watercolor sets are available when asked for. He also has a bunch of pastels and stickers, stencils (he rarely uses them)... modeling clay and playdough too. I've got him enrolled in an after-school art enrichment as well.

And I leave out books--either from our collection or from the library. He loves Andy Goldsworthy's book-- took it to bed with him several nights in a row to look at. And we enjoy music, too! The best way I can encourage him--

Do art with him
When he makes art, asking open-ended questions instead of just saying "that's nice". (Tell me about this part here? You used a lot of blue along this edge-- what were you thinking about ?)
See 'fun' art-- whimsical public art is fantastic.
Notice murals and other accessible creations around town.
Put his art up around the house/in his room
Encourage him when he's frustrated. Help him find easy fixes for his problems (like erasable colored pencils or pasting on a new piece of paper over a mistake).
Make a place that is intended for creating which is accessible regularly. Help him maintain that space.
I try very hard not to suggest things unless he asks, and only to give pointers when he is wanting them. Otherwise, I stay out of the process as much as possible.
Extending art: colorful plates of food at the table, beautifully arranged; a nature table (with an old tin-type tray with all those little boxes displayed vertically) for him to bring his treasures-- seashells, leaves, seed pods, rocks, twigs, flowers-- in to arrange and enjoy.
Encouraging his little comics and cartoons, helping him with the spelling/writing part to keep the creativity going.

And we have a lot of 'real' art (chagall, ernst, dali) on the walls as well. Our house is stuffed with art.

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answers from Dallas on

Oh, yes. My husband and I are both artists. My son naturally has a tendency toward the creative and clever. We definitely do encourage it, though. I have whole shelves of all kinds of supplies. We make something every day. Sometimes I plan a certain activity, but most of the time it's open ended. We do this together (I stay out of his process,) and he also does it on his own. I let him trace, if he wants to. Usually, he will just trace letters and numbers. Most of the time he prefers not to have any guidelines. I think even if a child (or parent) is not artistically included, it's VERY important to encourage kids to create. One does not have to be "good" in order to benefit.

We show him actual art, by all the greats. We have books of art all over the house. Our art and photography lines all the walls. He is pretty much surrounded by it. We have his books, that all have wonderful illustrators. His favorite illustrations to look at right now, are in books by Tasha Tudor. I so agree with Hazel on the food. We do that, too!!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

I have all the supplies available to my children and as long as they're doing it in the kitchen, I pretty much let them go wild with it.

Those supplies include paper of all sorts, glue, tape, scissors, foam shapes, pom poms, pipe cleaners, ribbon, glitter, markers, crayons, paints, stamps, bells, yarn, string, styrofoam, plastic, egg cartons, name it. If left to their own devices, children can be very two year old just managed to cut out a bunch of triangles from a sheet of pink paper, glue them haphazardly around a white sheet of paper, and then scribble on each one. She also added some letter H's. ;)

My eight year old is constantly folding and taping and gluing and God knows what else...always making something.

I have never encouraged my children to trace's plagiarism, like it or not. Both my husband and I are professional artists (starving artists...we know all about it!) and that's absolutely one thing we'll allow our children to have time and supplies for.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

interesting question.
My answer has changed over the years.
as a preschooler we did lots of playdough creating, markers and pens to draw with, gluing tissue paper, different sensory exploring actually I'm not sure i considered it "ART".

as they have gotten older, they have played around with creating things out of wood scraps or other found art sculture stuff. I consider free building with legos art too actually, they have started to explore photography, both got into sewing last summer and created stuffed animals. this year they have done some weaving first with the potholder looms and then we found some other interesting ways to do it like with drinking straws etc.
the one thing that has been consistent is dd's love of watercolors.
When they were little we looked at art in books more, now we have actually gone to our city's small art museum.
we own a few brass instruments and let them blow on them everyonce in a while too.

again, I see it more as just encouraging them to explore their entire world and find what they like.

If you have things available to the kids i think they naturally want to create with them, but it can be messy and some mom's don't like that.

I didn't understand your question about tracing? I know montessori and Reggio Emelio schools really encourage alot of tracing of animals, plants, and maps. is that what you mean? or were you asking if we let kids color in coloring books? even if it isn't "Art" that can be fun too.

Perhaps this question will encourage people to turn off the Tv and just let their kids entertain themselves.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Yes, I am very artsy and all 4 of my children are too. My oldest has been accepted to an art school for fashion design this fall! I provide lots of supplies, inspiration, support, praise and encouragement for all their artistic attempts. We attend and enjoy art festivals, museums, theatre, and the like. I purchase lots from artists. Many times my kids design and make their own halloween costumes, birthday cakes, cards, presents. All of our birthday parties/holiday celebrations have incorporated making something; jewelry, frames, pillows, wall plaques, initials, book bags, ect. Over the years their friends have commented to me how fun it is to come to our house because we always make cool things and they tell me they wished their moms were more like me. The best compliment!

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Yes, I encourage my kids to do arts and crafts; it is a great way to build their minds and is relaxing and improves their self esteem (in being able to create something). The way I encourage is simply by providing the supplies. You can usually find my middle child simply by following the trail of craft supplies and scraps of paper. I cannot remember a birthday/Christmas that she did not just ask for art supplies. My other 2 children are not quite as interested but since I really enjoy arts and crafts,they will usually join me when I start a project. Especially painting, I think because it is more messy, and therefore seems more fun!

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answers from Phoenix on

Are you talking about structured/instruction of art, or just arts & crafts at home? For home, I pretty much just bought the tools - easel, paint, brushes, chalk, crayons, glue, etc. and she took right to it.

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answers from Williamsport on

I dont' really encourage it, but I definitely enable it. My kids would have a hard time NOT being artistic since I'm a painter and their dad's a musician and our whole house is constantly focused on art with bookshelves full of art books and artist friends coming and going talking about art... They've been to tons of art shows and galleries and museums just because I I don't push it for them. I actually hope they want to be something more practical when they grow up :) I DO PUSH reading, math, science, grammar, history, music lessons and other subjects that aren't saturating our household naturally. I homeschool and focus on those the most.

As for art..They have a child's easel. A chalkboard and chalk. Large stacks of newsprint and blank paper. Pens and crayons and scissors and tape a the ready. But I don't assign any crafts really. My oldest is seven and nothing stops her from cutting, pasting, drawing and sculpting away's in her genes :) She recently made her own Roman paper dolls with draped kleenex togas. She built a greek temple from a box and improvised columns. I went to move it and accidentally tore off the roof only to find she had constructed a throne inside and drawn on all the walls. Those were her ideas from start to finish with no direction at all. She did them locked in her room-I didn't even know what she was doing because she wouldn't let me in. She's building her brother a racetrack for his cars out of cardboard, but it's in her closet and I haven't been allowed to look at it yet.

I heard a theory that a child's brain does not need to be forced to "express" at young ages (under three). Most toddlers will scribble etc, but it's not essential for creative development and trying to find "talent" in those areas at those ages is sort of like pumping from an empty well. It's best to sponge up information at those ages and then express artistically from a fuller well as they grow. So, some fun crafts? sure. But not too much emphasis is needed in super tiny kids. My 5 and three year olds are starting to get more crafty (on their own with no push) My craftiest got really into it at about 4 or 5 too. Cutting and hand coordination are huge factors in their own enthusiasm.

I avoid the pre-fabricated crafts with "definite solutions" and leave things basic to leave room for invention.

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answers from Miami on

Yes. It doesn't matter whether they become artists or not. It helps develop their finger and hand strength, dexterity, and gets them ready to think through the myriad of art projects they will be required to do in school.

I am NO artist. I have never been any good at it - indeed, my pictures never progressed past 2nd grade. My kids are so much better than me. It doesn't matter to me whether or not they are better because I tried so hard with them or because they actually have talent I don't have. I knew it was important, like working with puzzles and Legos so that they learned spatial concepts.

Hope this answers the question you are asking.

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answers from Washington DC on

My kids were involved in Abrakadoodle while they were in Kindercare...we have their art work up in the family room.

Do we put them in art classes now? No.

Do we keep them from doing art? No. We always have crayons, paint, paper, brushes, etc. in the art bin for them to do art on.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I always encouraged my kids to do arts and crafts, however, I always encouraged it outside the home. I took them to playgroups, camps and classes where their would be arts and crafts because I do not like them going on in my house. Too much mess for me! My kids are not particularly interested in arts, they are more musical. Fortunately here in Manitoba we have really well funded music and arts programs in our schools.

1 mom found this helpful
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