Getting artsy with young kids is good fun that yields great stuff -- practice following directions, hands-on motor skill development, and (of course!) quality time together. But it can be hard to let kids own the activity. Most 3 to 6 year olds aren’t ready to read directions or wield a hot glue gun on their own, after all. We love projects where kids can really “do the making” -- take control of the process and the results -- because that’s how they develop problem-solving skills and creativity. Take this simple paint project, for example. There's no shortage of paint recipes using natural materials, but in this one, kids can run the show. All you need are berries, a few brightly colored spices, water, and some open earth -- and then let the kids loose. The experimentation and creativity that follows is as lovely as the art that results.
This isn’t just another painting project. Switching from “let’s follow this recipe” to “we have a dilemma -- what should we do?” not only gives kids experience with how to solve genuine problems, but allows them the freedom to invent the solutions -- the very basis of creativity. This activity’s colors, scents, and textures (maybe even tastes!) help kids develop multiple senses -- and also make it extremely engaging. The deceptively simple acts of stirring mixtures and transferring paint from bucket to bucket support universal patterns in brain development known as behavioral schema. Meanwhile, fine motor skills get a boost from holding sticks for mashing and grasping brushes for painting. Most gratifying of all, you’ll likely hear, “Look what I made!” When kids take pride in their artwork, that’s hard evidence that making things on their own boosts self-esteem -- a true masterpiece.
We think all families should be learning outside. Try this activity with your child and begin to see the power in outdoor, play-based learning. Have fun!Email it to me