Art is the Best!

Art is my most favorite school subject to teach. I find it so much fun to get my hands in the paint, and come up with fun things to create. I really enjoy watching my kids' faces, as they make their creations too. They have so much fun that they fail to notice they are learning. 
While I was still in college; I was asked to choose a topic that interested me, I was then asked to research, and write about it. I chose "Art Therapy for Young Children". My reasoning behind this topic was: I love kids, art, and psychology so I put them all together. 
While most of us use art as a way to entertain kids, I have learned that it is much more than that. Art is a good way for kids to express their emotions, and share memories or dreams that they have had. For children that are faced with a difficult transitions, traumatic situations, etc. art will help them cope in a very safe way. 
Psychologists highly recommend that we should always ask questions about each child's artwork, rather than make statements about them. We should never point out and name objects. By doing this, it could make the child feel bad about their work (especially if the object was something different then what we had said it was). The child may simply stop enjoying art, all together. 
The benefit of asking questions is that they force children to think about their artwork, and then vocalize their thoughts back to us. This is a huge process for them, especially for younger children.
As my way of encouraging you to add more art projects in your classrooms and family activities, I have some art ideas and projects that you can use below.

Art doesn't only have to be about paint, markers, crayons, etc. It can also be done on the computer. All you really need is a computer with a paint program on it, a printer, and some paper. Once you have that, you can go into your paint program and once you're there, show your kids the different options that they can use on it. Then let them be as creative as they want to be on their projects. After they have finished, print them off and give it to them. 

 I'm sure a lot of you have used this idea, but for those of you who haven't tried it... All you need is some paper, paint, and straws. What you will do is drop a small amount of paint on some paper, and then blow through the straw onto your paint. The paint will blow across your paper, it is really neat to watch.

Goop is a really fun one to do. It is actually one of my favorite art projects! To make the goop, you need: flour, salt, water, food coloring or liquid watercolors, several small bowls, squeeze bottles (like empty mustard bottles), spoons, and a large bowl. Once you have collected everything needed to make it, you will want to mix equal parts of salt, flour, and water in your large bowl. The mixture should be thick. Divide the mixture into the smaller bowls and add food coloring as desired. Pour the mixtures into your squeeze bottles. You can then "paint" with this mixture by squeezing it onto cardstock or heavy paper. Then let dry. The "paint" will remain 3D. The kids love it! 

My last art project suggestion is...

Flyswatter Painting is really fun for the kids. However, it is really messy. All you need for this project are flyswatters, tempera paint, newspaper, paper, and smocks. You will want to spread your newspaper out to cover anything that you don't want paint to get on. Once you have done this, put different colors of paint onto paper plates so the kids can just put the flyswatters right into the paint and then let them go loose to "swat" the paper with color. Smocks are must on this one because the paint will splatter.

I hope you have learned something new about art, and the role it plays in our kids' learning. I also hope that you have found an art project that you can use in your classrooms and homes!


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