Red, yellow, blue and every color in between swirl around my art room. Paintings of sunflowers, green ocean waves, and an orange tiger crouching behind tall grasses dot the walls. Children’s owl collages and color wheels splash color across others. Totes hold crayons in flamingo pink and seafoam green. On the shelves colorful paint containers stand at attention, waiting for the next art class.
But art doesn’t have to happen just at school. Many students learn at home, either online or homeschooling, especially this year. And it can be challenging to fit art in around educational basics.
Art is important, though. In the tabernacle and in the world, we see God’s love of color and beauty. He chose artists to make curtains embroidered in blue, purple, and scarlet yarns and furnishings of gold for the tabernacle (Exodus 35-39). He created sunflowers, crashing green waves, and crouching orange tigers (Genesis 1).
Studies also show the importance of art for children’s physical, mental, and social development:
- Using crayons, scissors, etc. develops fine motor skills.
- Looking at artworks improves observation.
- Discussing artworks builds vocabulary and social skills.
- Art allows children to explore interests and talents.
- Art refreshes screen-tired minds and muscles with creativity and fun.
- Art helps children recognize the beauty and wonder of God’s creation.
And the good news is, you don’t have to have an art room or be an art teacher to enjoy art together. Try some of the following art activities to help your children create beauty and develop skills that will carry over into every part of their lives:
Looking at Art Together
Check out art books from the library. Go to museum websites and find artworks to enlarge for details. Choose a painting and:
- Ask children what’s going on in it and why they think that. Enhance observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary.
- Have children choose crayons to match colors they see in a painting. Help them see nuances of color such as flamingo pink and seafoam green.
- Play I Spy, finding objects, shapes, colors, and patterns in paintings. Then send children to find similar things in books, or your house and yard.
- Invite children to take an imaginary walk into a landscape, describing what they see, hear, smell, and touch as they travel through the scene.
- Have children choose where they’d hide in a painting, and others guess.
Making Art together
Gather paper, markers, stickers, yarn, etc. Add these to a tote along with a plastic tablecloth and turn your kitchen table into an art space. The fun might begin with these easy activities:
- Tear colored paper into shapes for collages.
- Draw doodles and exchange with others to make pictures from.
- Use forks, potato masher, and cardboard tubes, etc. to print with.
- Drop puddles of paint onto paper and blow paint around with straws.
- Draw a tree and use Q-tips to paint leaves.
In the picture book, Frederick, by Leo Lionni, field mice gather winter supplies. Four little mice trudge across the pages with stalks of wheat and armfuls of seeds, while the fifth, Frederick, perches on a rock, apparently not helping. But as winter cold wears on and food runs low, Frederick shows he gathered important supplies, too—sunlight and colors to warm and brighten gray days.
Children need educational basics, but as winter fades into spring’s rainy days, motivation may run low. So let color and creativity swirl around your house, brighten the promise of spring, and remind you and your children that you are, “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14 ESV).
Red, Yellow, and Blue: Let Colorful Art Refresh Your Children and You! #Parenthood #ParentsTweet
Kathy O’Neill grew up in Maine. She loves the Lord and His gifts of family, pets, and walks on the beach when storms send waves crashing against the rocks. She is a teacher, writer, and speaker, who enjoys engaging children’s and adult’s hearts, hands and minds to discover God and their own creativity through art, history, and nature.
Kathy has taught all ages in Christian schools, as well as church and homeschooling groups. She has written for The Quiet Hour, Light from the Word, Mature Living, Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Highlights and Appleseeds.
(Cover photo courtesy of Steve Johnson on Unsplash.)