3 Easy Ways to Bond with Your Child Through Art
Updated: Jan 30, 2022
Hey moms and dads! Why don't you take an hour of the weekend, make everyone some hot drinks and google a new artist. Look at their work, talk about it and see what insights you can come up with? This simple exercise will teach you new things about yourself and your child.
But I don’t like to look at paintings, they’re too weird and complicated! Believe me, I feel you. But there are many artworks out there that make a lot of sense, are fun to look at and you can actually relate to! The art world is not all abstract or renaissance, there are more artists out there than Picasso, Van Gogh or Dali. And I want to invite you to discover the world of art with your children today!
But that sounds complicated and I don't know anything about art!
I understand! You don't need an art history degree to talk about art, all you need are a few pointers to get you started.
Children ages 5-7
This age loves bright colours, and they will likely find the artworks of pop artists exciting and fun. Try googling artists like Romero Britto, Keith Haring or Wayne Thiebaud.
Children at this age are still discovering the world around them. That's why they will connect better with familiar elements in a painting. For example houses, cars, beaches or schools. Impressionist painters such as Degas and Renoir are a great place to start.
So now that you have an idea of what to look at, how do you make it interesting for you and your children?
A museum visit at this age is not the best investment of your time with your children. Instead, go book shopping or visit a library that has art books. Look at the images together and make up stories about what you see.
Another great way to connect with them? Amazon has a ton of children’s stories that revolve around famous artists and artworks. Instead of buying the paper book, you can buy a kindle version. Use the stories to spend quality time with your children reading. I did that with my own niece. Reading Katy and the Starry night was one of our favourite activities to do together.
Children Ages 8-10
Children this age love bright colours and contrast. And they love artworks with stories behind them. They love stories that define the characters as good versus bad. Use that to connect them with artworks that show heroism. The museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, or its website, is a great place to find a collection of hero type artworks.
Why not take a field trip and go visit a local gallery together? You can talk with your children about the materials and techniques the artist used. If your children are already taking art classes, this will be a wonderful way to share their interest. You can give them the chance to show you what they've learned. And they will see firsthand how artists use the techniques they learned about in school.
So how do you start a conversation with them about art? Pick a painting and start by asking questions. What do you see here? or what do you think is going on in this painting? What makes you say that? These are all great ways to start a conversation. Once you're talking, express your views and listen to them. It will be a wonderful bonding experience and will give them a chance to show you what they know.
Preteens tend to jump to conclusions about what they see. And the best way to engage them is not by correcting them, but by asking for their opinions. They’ll want to hear the story of the artist and how they used the paint to show a feeling or an idea. Engage them with interesting facts about the artist, their life or the artwork you’re viewing. If you're in a gallery, you'll find an artist biography provided.
You can also compare works of different artists on the same subject. Like paintings of nature or human figures. Don't worry about having a deep conversation. Instead, express your opinions and listen to your children's views. Find points of similarity or difference and use it to have a meaningful conversation.
Talking about art doesn't have to be boring or scary! It can actually be a fun experience and a bonding activity to share with your children. It doesn’t have to involve a lot of work or take up a lot of time. You can make it a weekly activity you do together for half an hour. The most important thing is to be open to ideas, ask questions and have fun.
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