Fireflies: Training your Child to Appreciate Art         

Jan 18, 2012

Training your Child to Appreciate Art

Each month we will highlight one way to train your child to effectively communicate a message through print, verbal and visual arts activities.  This month, let's begin with the Visual Arts.   I'm a firm believer in children being exposed to great works of art and also creating their own art.    Each month we will focus on works and styles of art by various artists.   We will also share an art activity to experience with your child.  (See Post: Block Print Winter Scene)   We will archive these activities under the label: Visual Comm.

When was the last time you actually chose to visit an art museum, let alone take your child to one?  I must confess that I was not an enthusiastic museum visitor as a young parent.  I did not want my children exposed to some of the art displayed and I simply didn't know how to introduce them to great works of art.

What I did do however, was to sign my children up for many different art experiences in our area, (and I have a complete set of coil pots to prove it).  I chose wonderful art teachers who inspired them to replicate great works of art, explore different styles of art, and to create messages through the visual arts.  My parental experiment was a success!  Both of my adult children are fearless when it comes to a creative project (probably to the dismay of their spouses...), and I am convinced they both will do a much better job of walking their little ones through MOMA and the National Portrait Gallery.  I believe with all my heart that my children benefited from the art lessons, and that's why I'm committed to sharing these experiences with you.

Through Fireflies, we can share our love for the process of art exploration.  Each month, Julie Hagan and I will highlight a piece of artwork to share with your children as they grow to appreciate God's creation through the Fine Arts.  For those of you who do not know Julie - she is the artist.  She is a master teacher whose heart for growing children to become all they were created to be, inspires me every time I'm with her.  (You are in for a treat - I promise.)  Through our Visual Comm posts, we hope you will be encouraged to create opportunities for your children to view and create art.   After all, everyone needs their own set of coil pots!

Art Appreciation and the Young Child

Parents can initiate young children’s appreciation of art by letting them
view and make art.

For young children, visiting an art gallery or museum can be a great introduction to art. Here are some suggestions to make your trip a success:
The Sisters of Charity by Charles Burton Barber

Start small. Choose a theme that relates to your child’s interests, such as ballet or animals, and look at just three or four pieces to see how different artists represent the subject.

• Pay attention to the artwork’s message. Artwork that shows people gathering food or nurturing a child or that highlights daily activities in other ways carries powerful positive messages.

• Listen to your child’s response to artwork. Children may find some work frightening, such as Georgia O’Keefe’s Horse’s Skull with White Rose. Experts say toddlers respond to scenes of daily life and abstract art like that of Picasso or Klee, but show little interest in landscapes.

• Watch for art in progress. Children are fascinated to see art in the making so watch for people who are sketching or painting.

• Learn when to lead and when to follow. A child will let you know when he’s ready to look at a piece of art more deeply.  The goal is to help your child to acquire an appreciation of art...follow their lead when possible.

• Find something for everyone. Having at least two adults with a family group allows you to split up and accommodate everyone’s interests.

 Find creative ways to keep little hands off. Touching an object related to the artwork makes it easier for kids to accept “hands-off” policies. When looking at a sculpture, for example, bring a smooth stone for kids to touch.

First Steps
Look at the winter scene above.   Keep in mind your child's developmental level as you begin to discuss artwork.  Practice designing questions that will engage your child in the discussion of art.  

Questions about The Sisters of Charity might range from "How many deer are in this picture?" to "Why do you think the artist titled his art work, The Sisters of Charity?" 

Share your questions as well as your child's unique responses with us in the comment section below.   Discuss, explore and enjoy ART!  

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At January 18, 2012 at 1:40 PM , Blogger silly eagle books said...

I love that I know your children and can see the proof of you art experimentations! You are right--it worked! :) We really enjoy the A First Discovery Art Book series. They are great for exposing preschoolers to fine art.


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