We try to provide lots of experiences for Anders (and Finn). We try to get him outside almost every day, make books and reading time available, encourage social experiences and play with blocks and Legos to develop pre-math skills. And we make time for art.
Not even two years old, Anders has become quite the artist (or should I say artiste?).
I’ve been reading “Young at Art” by Susan Striker. Like any book about child rearing, this one is a little overboard, but her general premise is good. I take what I like from it and ignore the stuff that is over the top.
Striker believes that children need to be exposed to artistic experiences from a very young age (1 year old or younger) and that they shouldn’t have any instruction, but should be free to experiment. I’m all for any method of teaching where I don’t have to do anything. 😉
We are supposed to have materials constantly available so our child can create whenever he wants. I keep the art materials on a shelf instead so our little artist doesn’t create masterpieces on the wall, carpet etc. All he has to do is ask and I’ll usually get them for him. (Sometimes I just don’t want to deal with paint, so I stifle his inner artist. Better than stifling his outer self because there is paint everywhere).
Striker also says not to criticize your child when they color or paint on the walls, table etc. Yeah, right. That’s why there is no unsupervised art in our house. Our materials are all washable, but I still think keeping it on the paper is part of the learning process.
I do think she has some good ideas. We don’t ask Anders what he is drawing or suggest he draw specific things. This way he just creates from whatever is inside him instead of trying to meet ideas of what art “should” look like. For this same reason we don’t write in his work. Hopefully we are encouraging creative thinking that will help him in all aspects of his life. Plus, it keeps him busy and out of trouble.
Scribbling and free drawing prepares kids for reading and writing and teaches crucial concepts such as self-expression. Kids experiment with 20 basic shapes when they are scribbling (dots, single lines, multiple lines, spirals and so on…). These shapes are the building blocks of later writing and drawing.
I figure by letting his hair grow long so he looks like a little hippie, we are pretty much guaranteeing he’ll be artistic. It’s the most important thing we can do.
These pictures are from the last week or two except for the last one which is from this summer.
Striker wants you to save EVERYTHING your kid creates. We just don’t have the storage capacity for that. I honestly don’t think Anders (or Finn when he gets old enough to hold a crayon) will want every piece of art he makes. I sure wouldn’t want everything I ever made; it stresses me out just thinking about having to deal with all that stuff.
We saved a bunch of Anders’ work and put it in a binder as a Christmas gift for my mom this year. Who will be the lucky recipient next year?