Anitra Redlefsen
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home > writing > art and education > supporting your child with the arts


Anitra Redlefsen, M.S.

Arts research studies show that children engaged in arts education over time build and demonstrate greater problem solving, decision making, and creativity skills than non-art students. They also develop a better awareness of the world around them and an increase in self esteem. Here are just some of the ways that you can support and encourage your child with his or her art interests and endeavors!

Set aside time for looking at and making art.

Keep art supplies accessible (pencils, paper, markers, watercolors, etc.)

Borrow from the library (or look for sales at bookstores) art related books that are geared for children. Look at these books and talk about the pictures. Also borrow videos from the library. (A great one is “Eric Carle, Picture Writer.”)

Ask open ended questions like: “What do you think is the main subject of this picture?” “What do you think the painter is trying to say with his painting?” “What is going on in this picture?”

Visit art museums and galleries to see and experience a variety of mediums (paintings, sculpture, photography, etc.).

Make art with your child; he or she will enjoy your participation. Discuss your work with them as well as theirs.

Explain to your child that there are no “wrongs” and no “mistakes” in making art. Everything that happens is an invitation to respond and to be creative!

Display your child’s art work in your home or office. Have a favorite or two professionally matted and framed.

Painting paper is a fun and creative project; use painted paper as wrapping paper; create greeting cards, book marks or colorful collages.

Be supportive and encouraging with your responses to your child’s art.

Enroll your child in art classes or workshops sponsored by local museums or community centers.

Let your child participate in the selection of art for your home or office. What does he or she like? Perhaps purchase something special for him or her for a special occasion.

Encourage the transferring of skills (creativity, problem solving, etc.) to other areas beyond art; for example: “Vincent Van Gogh was born in 1853; if he were alive today, how old would he be?” “If we want to make this 10” by 10” picture twice as big, how big would it be?” And so on.

For some great art ideas, projects, lesson plans and fun stuff to do, visit the KinderArt web site:

Please feel free to call, fax or email if you have any questions!

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