Teaching our children about famous artists and their paintings is a great way to enhance their cultural education. However, it can be difficult to know when or where to start introducing them to some of the great artists such as Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh. Some parents may feel that a young toddler is not the right age to take to an art gallery or museum, but in truth even very young children can start to appreciate art when approached in a fun way which allows them to express their own creativity.
One of the big concerns that many parents have when it comes to teaching their children about art appreciation is that they themselves are not knowledgeable enough. However, this need not be a problem. In fact you may even find that learning about the art together makes the experience more pleasurable for you both since it adds an additional opportunity for bonding with your child. You do need to start of by going to a big gallery. Even looking at pictures of famous painting in a book, or stopping to look at statues in the local park can be great ways to start cultivating your child’s interests in art.
One approach which I have found useful with my own children is to try and tweak their interest in art by asking them questions about the paintings we are looking at. You can ask very simple questions in the beginning such as whether or not the colors are pretty before moving on to asking what they think the painting is and how it makes them feel when they look at it. It is important to tell them that there are no ‘right’ answers when it comes to art – they should feel comfortable expressing their own opinions. As they get older you can then begin to introduce information about the painters and what critics believe they represent and ask them for their own interpretations.
Some of the best painting to begin with are those with vibrant colors and interesting patterns such as Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’ or some of Pablo Picasso’s more colorful abstract works. I actually found a couple of great books which offered a chance for the children to color in Van Gogh images themselves after seeing the originals.
It is no secret that when it comes to early education, play based learning is a great way to get youngsters to engage with whatever you are trying to teach them. With that in mind I decided to reinforce what my kids had learned about Van Gogh and Picasso by following it up with some creative play. After we had spent some time looking at images by both artists and pointing out our favorite patterns and colors I tasked the kids with creating their own piece of art in that same style. My older child loved replicating the swirling skies of Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’ with paint while the younger one enjoyed using the Van Gogh coloring book and making odd looking Picasso style faces using images cut from an old magazine! I always like to keep a supply of non-toxic kid friendly art supplies on hand for projects like this.
I have really enjoyed teaching my children about some of the great artists while giving myself a refresher on them at the same time. We now spend many a rainy afternoon in the art gallery looking at different styles of art and both children have developed a keen sense of what they like and what they don’t. We often try to create our own art afterward inspired by what we have looked at that day and I am glad that I decided to introduce them to art at a young age.
If I could offer one piece of advice to parents it would be that you introduce your kids to art appreciation at a young age and encourage them to talk about the paintings or sculptures with you. You might be surprised at how profound a child’s interpretation of art can actually be!
Article courtesy of blogger: Alison Lansky