parenting

Education: How to Channel Your Child’s Artistic and Creative Talents

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Art, band and orchestra, dancing, and foreign language are so beneficial to a child's educational development. But, what happens when your child has creative talents or is passionate about one of these topics and your school doesn't offer a class or sufficient instruction to curb your budding artist's, musician's, dancer's, or world traveler's appetite?

Kid playing violin

My 8 year-old son is an artist. We found that even though his school did offer art classes as part of the regular curriculum, it simply wasn't enough for him. So, we enrolled him in an after-school program. He has been taking art lessons 2 hours once a week after school for 2 years ever since.

He's also a budding entrepreneur and figures if kids can make money selling lemonade on street corners, then he should be able to sell his art. He keeps asking me to make copies of the originals so he can sell them on the street corner. In response, I keep telling him that we don't live in Paris. We live in the Utah suburbs where people drive, don't walk, and no one stops to buy art on street corners. He isn't convinced.

While I may discourage him from selling art in our neighborhood, I am more than supportive of him pursuing his artsy dreams.

Paper Mache Giraffe

Six Ways to Help Kids Nurture Their Artsy Side

He may or may not make money off of his art, but to keep him motivated and excited about it without immediate financial compensation, we've done the following six things:

1. Encourage him to enter art contests.

Art and Creativity ContestOur school has a great annual art contest, which is run by our PTO. Each year has a different theme and allows one entry per child into six different categories. My son has loved entering this contest, which starts as a school-wide initiative and then advances onto a regional competition.
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2. Showcase his art in our home.

We have an easel in the front room and rotate pieces of his art for all to see when they enter our front door. The validation is rewarding for him and keeps him trying his best and coming up with new and amazing pieces.
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3. Enroll him in after-school small-group art classes with a professional.

His second mother is not a relative, but his art teacher. While Connor is shy at school and often described as "quiet as a mouse," his art teacher says she can't get him to stay quiet. He is full of energy, talkative, energetic and his real personality shines and comes out in full force in her art studio. He takes one 2-hour lesson once a week with a group of 5 other students and he comes alive during his art classes.

4. Expose him to a variety of art mediums.

Allowing him to use chalk, water color, colored pencil, and charcoal has been great for his painting and drawings. But, we saw a real burst of creativity when we started exposing him to 3D art, photography, video, among other things. The more mediums he has to play with, the more his creative juices flow.

5. Provide him with his own art studio.

While our house isn't big enough for a dedicated space, we did separate the boys into their own rooms and provide Connor with his own art desk. No longer are we finding minute scraps of paper in his bed and scissors next to his pillow. He keeps everything in his room and in his art desk drawers—close enough to be creative on a whim, but not in bed with him.

6. Share his art with others.

I have never seen Connor as proud as when we share his artwork with others. We were asked to perform a family talent at our family reunion last summer. Our family shared the kids' talents with the rest of the family. My husband showcased all of Connor's favorite pieces and you would have thought the kid had died and gone to heaven, listening to his family ooh and ahh over his artwork.

What is your child's passion? How does your school help feed that passion? What after-school programs or lessons do you take advantage of to encourage him or her to develop skills?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

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Victoria is obSEUSSed with bringing children’s stories and characters to life through kid crafts and fun activities. Inspired by Dr. Seuss, she hopes to get children excited about reading by encouraging moms to be librarians at home. All three of her children love books, including her 6-month-old.

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