You can easily grow your child’s inner creative personality by using simple techniques. Most children enjoy arts and crafts projects with natural enthusiasm, leaving your job to build their creativity a bit easy, but you should there are more ways to foster this ability. Homeschool children have the advantage of your guidance and the daily freedom to explore their favorite subjects and act on those at will.
Here we will walk through techniques you can use during homeschool lessons that help build creativity in your children.
Teaching Art Basics
Learning the very basics of art can help improve a child’s confidence when they are trying to get their ideas onto paper (or canvas). The very basics include line, form, space, shape, texture, and color. Buy a book of art (or several) to sit down and view with your kids regularly. You can discuss how the artist uses color, shadows, lines, and texture to improve their work. Discussing the use of color and how it evokes certain emotions is another basic art that enhances their awareness.
A few of our favorites for art are the Collins Big Book of Art and Usborne’s Famous Painting Cards set.
Magic Art Cart
This one is from Julie Bogart’s book The Brave Learner (read top 5 HS resources here), where she discusses learning about the magical art table practice from a close friend. We don’t have the space or resources for a dedicated art table but for Mother’s Day one year, I went to Michaels and grabbed one of those art carts that have 6+ drawers for storing craft supplies (60% off!) and put everything we had in it: pom-poms, stickers, watercolor crayons, ribbon, hot glue gun, glue sticks, ribbon, scrap paper, etc.
The point is when the kids are feeling creative and want to make something cool, they get their area ready (newspaper and tablecloth if they’re painting), and they create. Whatever they’re in the mood to create. A lot of times it will be something to go with the toys they have. Did someone need a cannonball? Did Calico Critters need blankets? Do the Lego Friends need items for a grocery store? Check. Check. Check!
Please note that Ms. Bogart does say that she would put random things on her magic art table: interesting sticks she found, rocks, pretty paper, etc. I don’t necessarily do it like that, but you should transform the idea into your own that fits your family’s lifestyle (and space)!
Reward Their Curiosity
Your child’s curious mind will lead them on many paths throughout their lives and let us hope that no one blocks that path to keep them from possessing whatever knowledge they may obtain. Using your local library, the internet, art, free play, etc. to provide answers to your child’s questions will give them more avenues of enjoyment than we can measure. Something may seem mundane or not worth the time, but when it’s important to the child we take the time to help them explore things on a deeper level.
Removing Your Criticisms
Sometimes we do not realize we are taking away from a child trying their hardest. What I mean is that we may (accidentally) put down what they’re doing with a single word or tone that comes out negative. We should always try to see the positive and point out the good parts. By not trying to add our imaginative ideas to their work and giving them the freedom to express theirs, you have confidence in their abilities.
And if you don’t think that’s true, read the first chapter from Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince.
Immerse in Audiobooks and Movies
Teachers can easily become tired of reading another story. Our voices get sore from coaching students through math, science, and history, so when it comes to reading a story, it might be a point where we just want to relax. This is how I have found the beauty of audiobooks. Not only does it give you downtime, but it gives your child a chance to hear a beautifully animated rendition of their favorite stories (and all the ones from your literature list).
Our favorites tend to be the ones with a full cast, background music, and sounds. There are some amazing editions available and if your budget allows an audible subscription, I’d jump on it. Search your local library and scour YouTube for available options. Also, YouTube has some good renditions of famous poems, especially Jabberwocky, where the words become tongue twisters that no one knows how to pronounce!
Take a Magic Carpet Ride
This technique may not be new, but it is one we should all begin incorporating while our children are young. The idea is to listen to a story (whether you read one, make one up, or listen to an audiobook) while you close your eyes as if you’re going into a movie on a magic carpet. You could also use this technique with meditation.
This visualization technique is relaxing and can help your child go to sleep, but it also helps your child to use their mind’s eye to see a story, which expands their comprehension. We’ve used this extensively to help with summarizing techniques and continue to do so.
Encourage Your Child’s Interests
Whether your child loves video games, sports, a special hobby, or a certain tv show, encouraging their love of it will help them foster confidence in your love for what they enjoy, but it pushes them to grow and adapt to a variety of interests and passions. Remind yourself to always encourage your kids with a variety of interests. One child is capable of exploring more than just painting and soccer, unlike the characters we see and read about, we are not one-dimensional.
The many benefits of fresh air will never be fully listed here, but one can try. From giving us mental clarity and clearing our lungs of household impurities, the great outdoors has a beautiful way to heal us. Even a small park visit can show a child the way plants grow, how tall a tree can be, and the greatness of gravity.
“20% of the oxygen you breathe in is used by your brain to function. Increasing the amount of fresh air you have can provide greater clarity to the brain, promoting optimal function whilst helping you to think, focus and concentrate better.”
Encourage Free Time and Creative Play
Free time and creative play go hand-in-hand. These two concepts provide the child time to use their imagination to be who they want in a time unique and only limited by their imagination. Do they want to fight dragons in space? So be it. Do they want to explore a witch’s cottage in a dark forest? They will! Providing clothes to dress up and a magic art space to create their necessary tools will always help.
Who hasn’t heard of the benefits of listening to Beethoven while studying? (If you haven’t, click here https://wno.org.uk/news/four-health-benefits-of-listening-to-classical-music) I want to express the idea of it being beneficial beyond the idea of health or mental advantages, but for the sake of hearing the orchestra, becoming adept at recognizing it in other media as well. It might give way to your child wanting to learn a musical instrument or enjoying an evening at a ballet. Music can change the way we see the world, whether it’s listening to the tune of the wind, or the beat of a dog’s bark, giving your child the gift of music is a beautiful thing.
Watching Artists on YouTube
This idea is new for us, but it has a very ASMR effect. There are thousands of artists available to watch on YouTube (our current fav is Chloe Art for her simplicity and choice of color), so whether you want to try out basic acrylic painting or reusing plastic bottles to create vintage deco art, you will find someone out there doing it and showing you how in the process.
Creating with Your Children
If you have a hobby or you are starting one, trying it out with your kids might be worth the time. Not only do children enjoy seeing their parents learn but it is a great way to bond as a family unit. They do not need to enjoy it like you do (but anything is worth a try), and they may not be as good at it as you (or vice versa), but it will be fun to try!
We also do this with languages in our house. We started with Latin a few years ago and now are learning Spanish together. I search for a kids’-based version and start at the very beginning level (currently we’re LOVING Calico Spanish) so we can learn as a team and communicate with each other.
I hope that this helps to direct you on a path of creativity with your children. It is vital to keep our imaginations strong and our willingness to learn new things, no matter what age. The real world can be hectic and cruel, so giving way to the beautiful world of creativity or getting lost in a book or movie, can provide the release of stress in us all, especially children.
What have been your most memorable art projects with your children?