It’s not a new idea by any means, and it’s been a longstanding mainstay of every parenting book on the market: introducing your children to art from an early age will hugely benefit their development. Harvard studies suggest that exposure to art can increase a child’s abilities to self-regulate cognition and emotion. It can also aid in the development of motor skills, and along with teaching your child cultural awareness, there are countless benefits to introducing your children to art-making and art appreciation.
So, as we collectively face the challenge of raising children in a fast-moving world with a million distractions at their fingertips, how do creative parents go about getting their kids to stop playing that iPad game or watching Netflix to engage in artistic pastimes?
There are two ways to get your little ones involved: appreciation and creation, and as such, we’ve segmented our list into two parts.
Part 1: Art Appreciation
1. Art Galleries and Museums
This may seem like an obvious one, but the expensive price of museums and galleries can sometimes deter well-meaning parents who don’t want to damage the pocketbook for a quick afternoon excursion. Even if your city doesn’t have free galleries or museums, it’s usually not difficult to find a “pay what you can” donation day, or find a museum which opens long-standing exhibitions for the general public for free.
20 Free US Museums (including several art galleries!)
It’s important to discuss the art itself and subject matter with your children, but it goes without saying that the more interactive an exhibition is, the better, as impatient millennial kids will be even more likely to respond positively to the experience.
2. Art Everywhere
Art doesn’t just exist between four walls. Art is everywhere, and a great way of exposing your curious child to art is by showing them where it can be found around their city or on your travels. Street art (the PG stuff!), public art installations, sculpture gardens, or even creative architecture are all great places to get the brain juices flowing.
3. Discover NeonMob
As NeonMob grows its digital art collections with talented artists from around the globe, why not allow your kids to engage in monitored discovery on the platform? Our collections feature stories and artist interviews to spark interesting discussion with your child. We recently featured a mom of three who collects on NeonMob with her children - check it out!
Part 2: Art Creation
4. Always Be Exploring
If your computer-obsessed child won’t put down the laptop and pick up a paintbrush, it’s time to bring the art to them. With new apps and websites launching every day, spend some time actively seeking and exploring new digital art creation tools available to kids and get them excited about using them. Education.com has a great list of the best art apps for kids in 2014 to peruse, and BestAppsForKids.com does a weekly review of child-friendly creative apps.
5. Encourage Expression & Give Them A Place To Shine
If your child is already whipping up works of art at a dizzying pace, how do you make sure your child is feeling appreciated without totally covering your fridge in finger paintings?
This useful list of apps for preserving children’s artwork is a great start, and for slightly older children, why not give them a (safe) place to show off their art on the web? Try a monitored blog on a platform you’re comfortable with (like WordPress), a Flickr account, or participation in an online community like DIY.
6. Good Ol’ Fashioned Art Classes
Finally, an obvious but essential addition to our list. Art classes in the community range from the traditional to the wacky, and the prices vary just as much. No matter what sort of art creation your child is into, you’ll find a class, a summer camp or a course dedicated to making it accessible for youngsters, and very often, there are sponsorship or subsidies available.
What’s your favorite way to introduce more art to your child’s life?