- Be a role model. Instead of letting your child hear you repeat that old cliche “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler,” say “I love to create things!” The process of creativity is more important than the product. If your child sees you taking risks and making things, he or she will follow your model.
- Don’t only hang your child’s art on the refrigerator with a magnet. Your child already knows that “real art” is framed and hung throughout the house. Take your child’s drawing or painting to a framer or frame it yourself and hang it in an important area of your home.
- Show a clear preference for your child’s work. Let your child know that copying, tracing and coloring-in of adult art is not creative. Solving problems while creating a work of art can lead to solving problems in all areas of life.
- Verbalize why you “like” a picture. “Pretty” is not particularly helpful. For example, try phrases like “there are straight and curvy lines in your drawing. They look well together”, “the colors are so cheerful and bright that they make me feel happy”, “Oh, look! A horizontal line and a vertical line cross over each other!” This will expand a child’s vocabulary and reinforce what is already being done on an intuitive level.
- Visit a museum or art gallery with your child. Look at the work and encourage your child to look at and talk about it without worrying about being “correct.”
- Make holiday cards out of your child’s drawings or paintings and mail them to everyone – even your boss. A two-year old’s red scribble on green paper is an instant Christmas card that is guaranteed to get more attention than an expensive, store bought card of a winter landscape.
- Have your children’s birthday party guests decorate their own cake, using squeeze tube frosting and candy.
- Set aside an area of your home that can always be messy. Put an easel, chalk board, lots of large paper, crayons, paints, glue and a box of scraps within reach. Call it the “art studio” and encourage daily use.
- Occasionally buy plan, light colored things for your child to decorate, such as t-shits, curtains, sheets, dishes, canvas bags, umbrellas, etc. Use them!
10. Buy a small, leather-bound blank book for your child to use every day. Always have it with you, even when you travel. You can suggest collages of store receipts from shopping trips or 1 cent stamps from a visit to the post office, drawings, pressed flowers, rubber stamp prints, etc. Encourage your child to use it regularly and it will become a family heirloom.