ArtStarts held the first children’s art class of 2012 at Telegraph Station in Alexandria, VA on February 1st. As promised this was a snow-themed class even though the weather was unseasonably warm! We read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, a visually rich story complete with snowflakes, snow angels, and a little boy who loves the snow! After reading the story and singing a fun snow song, we got to work on the art.
In this art class, our young students used white paint and sponge rollers to paint the “snow” all over the gray paper. Some students were very invested in this process and spent much of the time rolling the white paint over and over the page. Others experimented with drawing with a stick in the paint, using snowflake stampers, and gluing snowflakes onto the page. It was quite exciting to see how each of our little artists used different materials in different ways as they engaged in the creative process.
One of the most valuable aspects to any art program is that the child is able to direct the creative process. While they may have a wide array of materials, not every child will use them. Some will be very happy to simply use the paint roller, while others will experiment with all of the materials that are offered. Any art activity that I present in a class, I have also done with my daughter. I have found that as a parent it is important, though sometimes difficult, to let the child direct the creative process. While I may want my daughter to try the paint stampers or the various colors of paint that are offered, I must remember that she may learn much more if she is able to move at her own pace. If I let her use the paint roller for the entire session she will fully appreciate the physical properties offered by the roller. She will notice more closely the texture that the roller makes and the result of layering paint over and over and over again. She would completely miss these new discoveries if I tried to get her to move on to the all the other materials rather than sticking with what she was truly interested in.
During any art class, I offer a variety of materials but try to do so in a casual way, so as not to distract a child from an activity that they may be very focused on. I believe that this is the best way to let the child’s own creativity shine through. Thank you to all the parents who inspire creativity in their children and also for letting me be a part of this process!