Age 3 through 6th Grade

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Helping Your Child Be Better at Art

Monday, October 10, 2016

Parents often ask, “My son/daughter loves art—what can I do to help them develop their ability?"

Well, you could go to school and get a degree in art education, that’s how much information there is out there about this topic. But assuming you don’t have the time for that, here are the THREE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR CHILD BECOME THE NEXT (insert famous artist name here):

Let them draw. A lot! - Drawing is the most fundamental ability an artist has. Drawing teaches the visual observation and spacial reasoning skills that apply to any visual art form. Being good at drawing is a function of practice and that practice gives children the opportunity to observe and record details. Copying other pictures is a good way to practice, but drawing from real life is the next critical step in developing drawing skill.

Get them to experiment! - Art is actually more like science than most people think, and being creative is all about experimenting. Artists get ideas, try them out, observe the results and then make decisions about what works and what doesn’t. Artists have to push the boundaries and put new things together. Children thrive when they get a chance to try materials they are unfamiliar with and find ways to work with them.

Foster a growth mindset! - Do NOT model a fixed mindset by telling your child, “I’m not good at art.” Artistic ability is not some magical gift that some are born with and some are not. It is the direct result of practice, practice, and more practice. Certainly some people are more naturally inclined toward art, just as some are more naturally inclined towards math, sports, music, etc. However, anyone can develop any of those skills with consistent, reflective effort. Praise your child for their attempts to get better at art. Encourage them to experiment, practice, and reflect on their progress. In the words of artist Chuck Close, “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.”