The world of arts and crafts is important to the development of children of all ages and introducing your child to creativity in all shapes is an important gift which you can offer as a parent or carer.

Young children are naturally predisposed to creativity; they are born with an innate ability to create and whether that is something as simple as making hand prints in paint or creating a complicated collage, the important issue is that they are given plenty of opportunity to flex their creative muscles.

Potato printing is pleasurable and children love the results.
Potato printing is pleasurable and children love the results.

Starting early and allowing plenty of room for experimentation is important. Young children do not judge their artistic endevours but enjoy the sensation and the experience before they begin to criticize the results; fostering a free spirited love of craft and of arts will arm your child against the loss of confidence which can all to often come about as a result of pressure which comes as a side effect of education.

Although many teachers are excellent at helping children to grow in confidence in terms of art, some are not and they place too much value on skill rather than pleasure. Art for children should be primarily about the love of the act…and not the quality of the result.

For very young children who are not yet in education, there are many home-based art projects which are simple to organize and which will help your child improve fine motor skills as well as provide sensory pleasure.

Old wallpaper provides a good source of paper for a child whose artistic output may outstrip their parent’s supply of craft paper! Buy cheap rolls of damaged wallpaper and allow your child to make footprints and hand prints on it. Simply fill a shallow tray with poster paint and help the child to step into the paint and onto the wallpaper.

Make potato prints; cut simple shapes from halved potatoes and help your child to dip and print. Children are usually pleased with the results and this activity can help in learning shapes.

For older children a fun activity is to have them lie down on a sheet of wallpaper, draw around their body, cut it out and help them to “dress” themselves. Use wool for hair, ribbons and fabric to create clothing of different prints and textures. Help them to stick on eyes, mouth and nose using coloured shapes and finally pin up their collage of themselves so that it may be admired by all!

Children need to be given time and freedom to explore art.
Children need to be given time and freedom to explore art.

Art at home need not be expensive; preserve packaging in the shape of cereal and egg boxes; help your child to paint them and build a town or a robot. Save wrapping paper, ribbons, string and fabric scraps and these will provide endless fun when it comes to creating models and collages.

Encourage older children to utilize what they see in the natural environment…trees, flowers, shells and pebbles as well as pine cones and acorns can  all provide a wonderful and natural source of inspiration as well as raw materials for art projects of all kinds.

Let your child take the lead and help them to think for themselves and to come up with different ideas in terms of their art projects. You will be fostering a sense of confidence in terms of their creativity which will last a lifetime.

Stock up with supplies but keep it simple. The most any young child needs for developing their artistic skills are poster paints, a variety of brushes and sponges, paper, glue and glitter.

With these basics and some ingenuity, a whole host of wonderful things can be made and your child will experience the joy of art as they experience one of the most important periods in terms of their development.