Young Children and Art
I have been visiting my children and grandchildren in Texas. It is a treat for me. My grandchildren range in age from 14 years to 15 months. That is quite a span in age and there is quite a range in personalities, abilities, and interests of each of the grandchildren.
The other day I sat down to draw with two year old, Drew, and three year old, Isaac. We got out computer paper and large crayons. We sat at the dining room table. Drew was on my left and Isaac on my right. I thought this would be a fun way to entertain the two boys for an hour or so. Plus, I had confidence that it would be a breeze since I am an art teacher.
Drew picked up a large crayon and colored a small shape on the edge of his paper. I encouraged Isaac to do the same on his blank page. He refused. Isaac said he wanted me to color for him. I was puzzled. What kid doesn’t like to color? I tried to encourage Isaac some more. He said he did not know how to color. Isaac’s actual words were, “I not know how.”
Drew colored away. So, I showed Isaac how to hold a color. I colored a spot on his paper. He watched. He would not try to color. I coaxed him some more. Then I colored again on his paper. I colored a green spot. Next to the green I colored yellow.
Then I said, “I wonder what will happen if I color yellow over green?” I combined the colors. Isaac watched. I added more colors and mixtures of color. I asked Isaac questions about what he thought would happen when I placed one color over the other. He started guessing what the colors would make when combined. Our page started looking like a patchwork quilt.
Isaac started making requests. He wanted me to draw a chicken. So up at the top of the paper, I drew a chicken. Down below was our patchwork quilt of color. We decided all the colored squares were grass. Isaac finally picked up a crayon and started helping me add to the grass. Then he wanted me to draw a house and a barn. Then he wanted a fence and a horse, a chicken coop, and a tree. I drew for him.
Then I made a request of him. I asked Isaac to make a sun for the sky. He said he did not know how. This kid is tough! He chose a blue color for the sun. So, I held the crayon in Isaac’s hand and we made a sun together. When Isaac looked at the sun he decided it might be a moon instead. Fine with me. Good use of his imagination. Then we both drew eggs under the chicken and on the grass.
Drew continued to color on his page but occasionally he would stop to give Isaac and I pointers. I had no idea that it could be so difficult to get a three year old to draw. Most kids love to scribble on paper.
I use this experience with my grandsons to illustrate a point. Every child is different. What works with one child will not necessarily work with another. Don’t expect too much. Be flexible. Take things slowly. Be patient. Talk to the child. Try to understand what is going on in their mind. Do not push, but do not give up either.
Each boy had their own art experience. We spent quality time together and had fun.
If you have an art experience with your child please leave a comment on this post. Thanks.