Art for Kid’s Sake

When Eli was Liza’s age (around 2) he was decidedly uninterested in coloring. He did not want to play with paper or crayons or markers or paint. You can well imagine how sad this made me. But I dealt with it, thinking he would learn to be creative in other ways.

I got the book The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections for Christmas. And while it has some fabulous projects, I’ve still been a bit stymied on how to encourage Eli and Liza’s creativity.

This week I think I’ve finally figured it out.

My side of the office looks like the craft tornado hit it. I’ve been on a new tear of making Artist Trading Cards so there is paper, stamps and stacks of materials on the floor and I have tools all over my desk: watercolor pencils, glitter glue, paper cutter and drying cards. Several times this week Eli has asked to work on a ‘project’. (Wonder where he’s heard that word?)

Eli working on a project.

So what I’ve figured out is: what encourages them to be creative is to see me be creative on a daily basis. If I’m working they want to get in there and make something as well.

Bathtub fingerpainting.
Check out Eli’s feet in this photo!

This afternoon Eli wanted to make a picture for his best buddy Josh. He got in the office (behind the baby gate–Liza is never allowed in the office unsupervised) where all the gear is spread out and started working:
Josh's picture in progress.
Liza and I sat in the hall so she could draw with markers:
Sometimes you have to make your artist's hands instead of earn them.

Sitting in the hall with Liza telling me what color each marker was, I had the moment where I wondered why all of our days can’t be like this.

While I was writing this post, Liza pulled a flower pot off of the piano and made a giant mess. So the moment has completely passed and we are back to normal around here.

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