Tips for exploring art with your child

Part of the Kinderling Conversation for parents. Weekdays 12pm-1pm.

Thu 29 September 2016

13 mins

Helping your kids explore their creativity can be more than putting textas and paper in front of them. This week’s Screen Free Challenge theme is ART and CRAFT and we caught up with Lilly Blue, a Sydney-based visual artist who created Big Kids Magazine with Perth-based dancer, choreographer and writer, Jo Pollitt.

“The idea was to give kids the opportunity to experience artwork and arts practise that wasn’t brought down to a level that they were perceived to be able to respond to and understand,” explains Lilly.

Their Child Artist Response Project is a kind of “visual conversation” between a child and an artist, where one person is invited to create an artwork inspired by the theme of that particular issue, and then the other person responds visually to that work. In addition to creating new, original artworks, Lilly says that because the work is published side-by-side it “creates a different kind of dynamic and opens up questions about what young people can contribute to cultural conversations.”

In her own art practise, Lilly makes work that is open-ended, where she doesn’t know what the end result will be. She takes this approach into her workshops with kids, encouraging them to explore freely.

Lilly Blue’s tips for parents and carers to encourage creativity in kids:

  • Leave little creative pockets of pencils, masking tape and paper around the house so that kids can find them and get drawing. “Children interpret and process their worlds through their mark-making,” says Lilly, “And the things that children create when we are not with them, are often different to what they would create when we are with them.”
  • Collect different kinds of materials and encourage your child to explore them at different times, e.g. recycled materials, natural materials. “Anything that can be drawn on is a canvas, from magazines and cereal boxes to bubble wrap – and can be used as art materials,” says Lilly. “As soon as you start to see the world as both a palette and an art gallery, then everything you encounter becomes potential material.”
  • Engage your child in drawing games, like drawing a self-portrait with your left hand or your eyes closed. Draw a landscape with both hands drawing at the same time.
  • Have visual conversations with your child. Take a piece of paper, draw something yourself, then pass the page to your child so they can draw something, and continue passing it back and forth. For more drawing fun, try Exquisite corpse - a drawing game developed by the surrealists where you take a piece of paper and fold it into three. On the top part, draw a head, fold the piece of paper and pass it to the next person to draw the body, they fold the piece of paper, and pass it to the next person to draw the feet. There’s another variation, where you cut the pieces of paper to create more possibilities, check out the demo here.

How does your family get creative? What do you get up to with crayons, paint and paper? Take a pic of your creations and upload them to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #screenfreechallenge

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