I try to encourage my kids’ creativity in a variety of ways. I’m always on the lookout for interesting activities, especially ones that I can do with all three of my kids, who range in age from two to nine. So when I saw the article Creating Art: A Child’s Work at Rhythm of the Home magazine, my first thought was, “That’s exactly how I feel about it!” and my second was, “Hmm, when can we do that project?!”
Supplies: Prestretched canvas, painter’s tape, liquid acrylic paints, paintbrushes, hanging hardware (optional; I found ours three for a dollar in the general hardware aisle at Home Depot)
So right off, we differed a little from the original recipe. We used painter’s tape, that blue stuff you can get in any home improvement store, because I’ve had issues with masking tape leaving its stick behind. I went straight to liquid acrylics for no good reason I can remember, except that we already have them in a variety of colors. (Beware, though, that acrylics don’t wash out of clothing.) Liquid acrylics, if you’re unfamiliar with them, come in little bottles in craft stores for about a dollar a bottle, and that’s for the larger size. You can also find the canvases in stores such as AC Moore and Michael’s. Ours cost about $5 on sale.
I also let my kids know the general procedure ahead of time (ie, stick the tape to the canvas and then paint over it) and I set one parameter: This was going to be abstract. My oldest can have a hard time letting go and I thought it would help to talk about abstract versus representational before we got started, especially because I could see him staring at that canvas trying to figure out what to “make,” and I wanted to nudge him towards just playing with the materials.
I don’t know what’s more fun, putting on the tape…
painting the canvas with whatever colors you choose…
or (gently!) pulling off the tape the next day to see what you created.
Above, my three artists’ canvases hanging in our playroom: My nine-year-old’s on the top left, my toddler’s on the top right, and my six-year-old’s underneath.
And don’t forget (like I did!) to buy a canvas for yourself. Have fun!