Last week, I talked about Beauty in the lives of our children. Developing an eye for beauty helps to foster a love of beauty and in turn, the ability to recognize the author of beauty, Jesus Christ. Let’s talk art at home!
For your child’s first introduction to beauty, much can be done to develop their sensibilities. You can start very simply by having beautiful art work displayed in your home, viewing art at local art museums (when possible), and viewing art online.
Many museums offer virtual tours that give you a close up glimpse of their various collections, without ever having to leave home (especially helpful now!)
However, there really is nothing like seeing painting, sculpture, and mixed media in person, so I heartily recommend trying at least one field trip a year, as soon as quarantine is lifted. Through the years, I found that museums love to cater to home educators and often offer special programs just for them.
Art at Home
Encourage children to explore a variety of techniques and help give them a basic art vocabulary that introduces art techniques and concepts.
Who doesn’t love art flashcards and sticker books? Start here…
The flashcards can be easily ordered online and used to play matching games if you order two sets. Inexpensive, art sticker books such as the one above encourage children to pay attention to details by matching the stickers to the images in the book.
The idea is to just have fun and gain an introductory exposure to famous artists and their works of art.
My Favorite Art Resource
How to Teach Art to Children is is fundamental, age appropriate and easy to do at home. I LOVE this book. When I had hired an art tutor for my kids, she found this book super helpful too!
It starts with the basics, the 7 basic art elements. With easy-to-do art projects for large families of various ages, small groups, and individual activities, you don’t have to be any kind of art expert or have any fancy tools. You just set up the material for the kids to put together themselves, so you can easily work on each lesson in a family setting. There are plenty of full color examples of the finished work to help you too (see video below).
Some of the lessons have reproducible pages you can freely copy for multiple children. There are hints for extending the lessons and even picture book suggestions that complement each concept or artist.
The book has enough lessons that it is worthwhile to cover the material in at least a two year period. No sense rushing through learning about the 7 art elements; enjoy the time and experience the wonder in your child as they create.
Teach Art Through Story
Not only is it essential to keep a pile of beautiful art books available for your children to peruse at leisure, but be certain to add story books too! Especially books that weave in the artist and his work in an engaging, storybook format.
I will caution you though, that after reviewing hundreds of books I have found that not all children’s art books take care to explain art and the lives of the artists in an age appropriate manner. Please be careful to read the books before handing a child an art appreciation book. Unfortunately, several artists lived unconventional and immoral lives and care needs to be taken when introducing these artists and adult themes to your children.
Thankfully there are still plenty of gems to choose from. Listed below are my family’s favorites that are quite safe.
The same caution can be said for art websites, so I have collected many safe ones and promise to continue to do so on my Pinterest Board, Emmanuel Books – Art with Kids.
Art Picture Books
Katie and the Waterlily Pond by James Mayhew (Monet)
Katie Meets the Impressionists by James Mayhew (Monet, Renoir, Degas)
Katie and the Spanish Princess by James Mayhew (Valazquez, Murillo, Goya)
Katie and the Mona Lisa by James Mayhew (Da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, Carpaccio)
Katie and the British Artists by James Mayhew (Constable, Gainsborough, Stubbs, Turner)
Katie and the Sunflowers by James Mayhew (Post-Impressionism, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne)
Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists, not all in this series are suitable but these two are:
Rembrandt by Mike Venezia
Da Vinci by Mike Venezia
Mary Cassatt: Family Pictures (Smart About Art) by Jane O’Connor (Author), Jennifer Kalis (Illustrator)
Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
Pippo the Fool By author: Tracey E. Fern Illustrated by: Pau Estrada
I Spy: An Alphabet in Art by Lucy Micklethwait (Author)
Spot the Differences Book 1 and Book 2: Art Masterpiece Mysteries (Dover Children’s Activity Books) by Alan Weller (Designer)