Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” So why not nurture your kids’ creativity by encouraging them to color, paint and draw whenever possible while they’re still young?
“Art is so personal,” says Dalilah DeCarvalho, studio school manager at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in Summit. “No matter what age you are, it comes from the inside. It frees people up. Art is a great way for kids to unwind and relax after a long day because it’s an outlet of expression.”
If you’re sending your kids to a summer art camp — like the one DeCarvalho runs each year — their education doesn’t have to end there; You can continue their artistic journey at home as well.
“All kids are inclined to be artistically talented,” says DeCarvalho. “There was a study done in 1960 that showed the percentage of creative abilities in ages 3 to 5, 10 to 15 and adults. The younger kids had a higher level of creativity, some as high as 98 percent. By the time they were 11 years old, they had dropped 30 percent.”
Here, DeCarvalho shares her top 5 tips to help parents to embrace their child’s inner Picasso.
“Pinterest is probably the greatest thing ever to happen to arts and crafts. There are so many ideas on there that use things that you already have around the house. On a rainy day, instead of putting your kids in front of the TV or a video game, do an arts and crafts project at home. I love Pinterest!”
Play 20 Questions
“Start asking your kids open-ended questions like, ‘Tell me about your picture. Who is in this picture? Why did you put this in your picture? Why did you use this color?’ It’s really interesting to see the way their brains work, especially when they first really start to talk at ages 3 or 4.”
Be a Fangirl (or Fanboy)
“Describe how their art makes you feel and what it looks like to you. Say things like, ‘I love the long, wavy blades of grass. I love that you made a green sky instead of a blue sky. That’s cool! This makes me feel happy that you made this.’ Make them feel special about the work that they’re doing.”
“Ask a lot about their process. ‘How did you choose a bunny over a duck?’ Just encourage them. I don’t think you should ever tell them how things should look. If a kid wants to do orange grass instead of green, I’m not going to stop them because that’s them expressing themselves.”
Night at the Museum
“Take them to your local museums. That’s a great way to start because there’s a whole collection of sculptures and paintings there. Tell them a story about the paintings to get them excited about it. They’ll find something that interests them!”
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