i began noticing Crosby's interest in art when he was around 13 months old. he was constantly taking my pens and trying to imitate my constant writing (i am a list maker and constant journaler- is that a word???).
i went out and got him a mixed media sketch book and some decent crayons. similar to these.
we did some coloring and made finger paint. (recipe below)
then when he seemed interested in a small watercolor set that he recieved from the library, i made some liquid watercolors for him to paint with.
since then, our art has expanded and he has become even more interested in doing art almost everyday. Last week, i set up a small art area for him so that he can have easy access to his art supplies whenever he is interested. more on that later.
being a montessori preschool teacher for several years before Crosby was born has given me so much insight into following the childs lead with art and practical life activities. today we made some more finger paint, and he was the most involved today that he has ever been in the creation process.
after we were done with the stirring and measuring, i put the pan on the stove, and let him continue to mix his own concoctions of sugar, salt, and water to keep him distracted while i was stirring the paint on the hot eye.
he taste tested, i am sure it was delicious. and he made some sugar clumps. which are now on the floor, actually, the dogs probably scarfed that right up after they were dropped.....
i just taped a sheet of paper on the end of our cabinets. (an easel is in the works for a christmas present for this guy)
toddler art is messy and you never really know how much interest there will be until after you do it. here are some tips i have learned on toddler/preschool art from my montessori teaching time and the past few months with crosby:
- its always going to be messy. keep the attitude i have: there's no point in keeping a clean house since it will be messed up anyways. you will save yourself the energy of cleaning! see, i have helped you already.
- keep the steps to a minimum.
- try not to direct. once they are interested, try not to interfere. they become very disinterested with directions on how to do something.
- anything that involves pouring, scooping, stirring, is usually successful.
- use vibrant colors. i always use gel food coloring for crosby's art projects. i think its prettier.
- let them help with clean up. i put crosby in the tub with a few very small (a head cant fit in them) buckets of water. in a few of them, i made bubble water. i also gave him all of the bathtub toy scoops. he pretty much cleaned his whole body up while i was able to clean the floors and put the paint away. i checked on him every minute or so (we have a small house) but when he was done playing he was clean! and that is so much better than trying to clean him off with a rag while he arches his back and runs away!
- keep a sketch book. most of the time, our everyday art stays in the sketch book. it saves on wasting paper. our sketch book is currently full, so i used this big piece of white paper. i like the mixed media sketch book because it holds up to watercolor, finger paint, stickers, crayons, markers, and colored pencils. this helps me not have so many pieces of paper floating around the house and it seems really interesting to crosby to look through the book.
- use small amounts of ingredients. i give small portions of paints, markers, etc. it is easier to clean up spills and helps with keeping them from being overwhelmed with the project. with liquid watercolor, there is one drop of food coloring (gel) and about 2 teaspoons of water per color. when its accidentally turned over, it is soooooooo much less of a mess.
- when they are done, take the cue. today crosby got up and started walking around after he had been painting for a while. i took that as the cue he was done and said "time to wash" (his favorite thing! what child doesnt love messing around in the water???). once boredom sets in, don't force it, even if they have only done the activity for a minute or less. it will work out for no one. things start getting spilled, and it will be frustrating for parent and child.
- make it homemade. obviously, i don't make crayons or markers, but i do make the paint. i do this so that i know what is in it because crosby still thinks its important to taste everything that even closely resembles food or beverage. it doesnt concern me because i know what is in it.
here is my finger paint recipe:
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of corn starch
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
gel food coloring
put water in a saucepan and add dry ingredients on top. bring all to a boil on the stove and continue stirring constantly. separate into containers and add food coloring. these will store for a week or more in the fridge. when you take it out, add a bit of hot water and stir to get it to become more runny. it gets really paste like.
ohhh! also, you will have to endure some bad pictures, see above, for a bit while i figure out my manual settings on my camera. its time for me to step away from trying to edit my images and get it right the first time, i apologize ahead of time for this!