Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Georgia O’Keefe are a few well established artists of their era. Though they are gone, they have each impacted artistic expression in their own right with precision. How does one begin the pathway of artistic expression? More importantly, how can we inspire creativity in children?
It has been suggested that early exposure to art is critically important and if left un-nurtured may be difficult to recover (Eisner, 1988). Exploration allows children to explore and discover infinite possibilities. When children are able to learn art through their own investigation, they are able to develop useful problem solving and reasoning skills that will further support an empowered child. Here are a few ways to inspire artistic expression in children.
1. Let Children Lead- Each child has his/her own thought process and ideas. They are curious and adventurous. Each is as unique as a fingerprint. The level of imagination children encompass allow for many inquiry opportunities. When children's interests and ideas are valued and used for further investigation, they able to learn and become more invested in the process. From castles and Pokemon to nature and families, students come with varied background experiences. Let their knowledge and experiences drive their investigation.
2. Unlimited Possibilities- Materials for art exploration can be plentiful. There are various types of paint such as finger paint, tempera, and watercolors to name a few. Natural elements such as twigs, leaves, rocks, and mud can be incorporated material. Loose parts such as bottle caps, chenille stems, beads, and Popsicle sticks can be used. The possibilities of material are endless. Keep in mind high quality art materials do not have to be expensive. There are many simple paints that can be made with ingredients found in your home such as flour, water, food coloring, cornstarch, and vegetable oil. Click here for more ideas on natural/homemade art materials.
3. Lasting impression- Statements such as, "Johnny, you did a great job!", "Sam, your art is beautiful!", or "David, I like the way you are painting" praise students without specifically telling students the action that is being recognized. Empower students by framing comments in response to the actions viewed. Allow focus on the action students are doing and their intent versus how well the action itself is being done. This will allow students to form a connection with action specific praise. An example of this would be, "Samantha I noticed you are carefully using paint and crayons to create your artwork."
4. The inspired environment- Think about a calm environment where your ideas flow freely. What is it about this environment that welcomes an aura of positivity? Children can also benefit from a calm, inviting environment. Soft music, natural light, and a work space free of clutter are a few ways to set the tone of inquiry for the inquisitive mind.
Twigg, D., & Garvis, S. (2010). Exploring Art In Early Childhood Education. The International Journal Of The Arts In Society, 5(2), 3.