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How To: Nurture Art Appreciation in Kids

Natural Kids: How To: Nurture Art Appreciation in Kids

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How To: Nurture Art Appreciation in Kids

Muddy Feet and More is a rare treat: dragonflies, butterflies, foster animals and paper cutters all receive equal time. For the complete version of today's How To, be sure to take a look at Kelly's original post. There are even more great cloud pictures to 'oooh' and 'ahhh' over!

The development of art was one one of the first steps that mankind took on his path to civilization. Throughout history, great value has been placed on beauty, originality, and creativity. From cave paintings, shell beads and tattoos to modern day architecture, advertisements and photography, art is all around us, and in fact, embedded deep into our very being.

Exposure and communication. That is all we need to appreciate art. Exposure is easy, it's all around, right? You just need to look at things in a new way. Look at everything for the art in it, listen and feel too! Use your senses. The communication may be a little more difficult. We are a verbal species. We need to learn the terms for communicating what we are experiencing. We need to learn what questions to ask to evoke responses in ourselves and the children we are with. Okay, that's really pretty easy when you get the hang of it too!

So where to begin? Outside. No, really! Go. Visit the ever changing multi-sensory work of art that nature provides us with, that nature IS. For the first assignment, take a step back. Look up. Every day, the sky is different. Even here in Phoenix the sky is never quite the same shade of blue. The sunsets are never quite the same. Even the night skies are changing, moving. Rather than seeing sky, or clouds, or the moon, you are seeing art. Now discuss that. Ask questions. Make statements. Even get excited. Do this whenever you are outside.

"Wow, look at the cloud in front of the sun! It's really beautiful!
I like the way the edge is so bright. It really contrasts with the darkness
of the inside of the cloud and makes it stand out from the other clouds!
What do you think?"

"I really like the different cloud shapes and colors. Which ones
are your favorites? There are so many shades of gray in the clouds,
and so many layers. The blue sky behind is so bright. It isn't like
the paler blue we saw yesterday, is it?"

"Amazing! Going outside is like walking into a sepia photograph!"
(Actual conversation last night.) "The sun is being filtered by all
of the dust in the air, turning the sky this unusual color!"
(The next photo is actual color, it has not been changed.
It was taken with the same camera just a few hours after the ones above.)

"Isn't is amazing how many colors nature gives us?!"

Hopefully now you are beginning to get you child(ren) a little excited, a little involved in communicating about what they see. Don't forget to ask about sounds, feelings and smells too. "Can you smell the rain in the air? How about the dust? Do you hear any birds? Are the crickets chirping? Did you know you can tell how hot it is by how quickly the crickets chirp?" Tie in whatever might interest them. Or you. It's all about making connections. There is beauty in science, creativity in math (how can you solve that equation you've never seen before?!), and originality in writing. Art is everywhere.

What next? Break out that box of crayons, those watercolors (get some good ones - more on that later), construction paper and create something inspired by what you saw. YOU create. Don't just give materials to the kids. Don't even make it into an activity that "we'll all do together" unless you are doing it as a class activity. Kids need to see adults participating in the creative process for it to become something of value. Otherwise it is just "something kids do."

This does not necessarily mean draw clouds. This means use that blue you liked from the sky and the gray from the clouds. Let them mix and join with each other. Or make something abstract. Use the fluffiness of the clouds to inspire a world made of fluff. If you want to do clouds, try out some in different colors, and try to shade the colors in rather than drawing a traditional cloud shape. These activities encourage thinking out of the box. We don't want cookie cutter thinking, we want creativity. This may take time, but the example you set will inspire the children around you.

Muddy Feet, Kelly's Etsy shop, carries hemp jewelry and eco friendly toys in a variety of materials. "By giving children beautiful, creative playthings and showing that these are meaningful ideals to ourselves, they will come to treasure these values, develop them and use them in their own lives."

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Blogger germandolls said...

That is so cool! Just as I was driving home yesterday the sky was such an amazing spectacle of colors and textures. I wish I could have take a picture of it. I will try and remember your post next time I do art with the kids! Thanks for sharing!

September 23, 2010 at 7:06 AM  
Blogger Banana Bottoms said...

What a great idea. I love cloud watching with the kids but never thought of turning it into an art project. Thanks for sharing!

September 24, 2010 at 5:14 AM  
Blogger woolies said...

Awesome pics, great post!

September 24, 2010 at 8:47 AM  
Anonymous cutelittlething said...

Thanks for sharing this idea.

September 24, 2010 at 9:26 AM  
Anonymous EvesLittleEarthlings said...

Cloud gazing was a favourite activity of mine on summer days when I was supposed to be watching our cow graze an open field!

September 24, 2010 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger BirchLeaf Designs - Wendy and Mojo said...

Clouds are awesome!! Nature has so much to give and we can surely do our part to give back like gardening, learning about our surroundings, etc.

September 24, 2010 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger LittleElf said...

Beautiful pictures! Wonderful post, thanks so much for sharing. ^_^

September 24, 2010 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger mrsbeccijo said...

Great post, we saw some great clouds at the beach this past week!!!

September 24, 2010 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger kat (kats in the belfry) said...

wowza, those photos are simply breath-taking.

October 1, 2010 at 10:26 AM  

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