5 Reasons to Teach Your Kids About Art


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Guest Blogger, Lizzie Weakley

Art can create a world that exists only in the confines of one’s heart. It gives young people the chance to fall in love with something that will reside with them for a lifetime. Art is not only successful as a form of entertainment but as a workshop to channel the intuitive mind. Some people shun intuitive thought, but the beauty in teaching children about the breadth and potential of art is priceless. Below are just a few reasons you should teach your kids about art.

1. Expression

Effective art communicates ideas, feelings, and dreams for the future. Children are still developing and visual art can give them the tools they need to convey their thoughts without the use of words. Painting, drawing and making handcrafts can redirect negative energy into something positive. This is great for children struggling with frustration, sadness, and chaotic emotions.

2. Confidence

When a child creates, they’re bound to experience a swell of pride in their accomplishment. The influence of peers and media can make young people feel ostracized and weak, but art has the power to build an inner power. Whether you magnet a finger painting to your fridge or use a metallic frame from places like Kelly Gallery, supporting your child’s artistic pursuits is important.

3. Wisdom

Art is suffused with passion, making it a masterful instructor. Whether its music, film, literature, animation or video games, art has the power to teach in a way that’s unique and striking. Showing your children a wide breadth of art can help them become more knowledgeable of the world and different ideologies, which is vital to helping them forge their own opinions and sense of self.

4. Grace

From the elegant flit of a dancer’s limbs to the soft lines of a hand-drawn animation cell, the graceful presence within art has the power to calm and improve focus. If you have a child that is hyperactive or anxious, the silken tone of the music and charming images can help her feel centered and peaceful. Since artistic activities are often sedentary, they give kids a moment to understand the importance of quiet movement and thought.

5. Individuality

Society tends to foster the concept that certain people are superior to others based on their personality type, appearance, and other status symbols. Exposing children to art can help them develop a sensitivity to others and a genuine interest in kindness and honesty. It helps children understand the beauty of oddities, and allows them to embrace themselves so that they don’t have to build up ego of false pretense.

Regardless of age or gender, art is for everyone. There are many reasons to promote art appreciation in your household, but perhaps the biggest is that it will make you form a stronger bond with your kids. If you take the time to engage in art projects with young ones, you’ll be creating memories that will last indefinitely.

ArtWorks The Naomi Cohain Foundation

Creative expression is an amazing way to help children and adolescents cope with challenges in their lives, especially when it comes to their health. Child life specialists use creative arts as a therapeutic intervention to help patients process their experience, gain control, build resiliency, and provide a sense of normalcy in a clinical setting.

I am excited to feature ArtWorks The Naomi Cohain Foundation on the blog today as they have been providing child life programs and patients with amazing service. I had the pleasure to work with ArtWorks while working in the hospital and was blown away by their dedication, professionalism, and empathy for our patients and families. I am sure you will feel that same way after reading about their program.

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“ArtWorks, founded in 2002, is a creative arts organization supporting children battling chronic and life-threatening conditions.  Partnering with over 50 hospitals and healthcare organizations, in New York and New Jersey, ArtWorks reaches over 20,000 young artists annually.  

ArtWorks The Naomi Cohain FoundationFocusing on building resiliency and celebrating the creativity within each child, ArtWorks offers several programs that are open to patients, and their siblings, 0-24 years old and is at no cost to them.  Express Yourself, hosted biannually in NY and NJ, offers an event to showcase the incredible talents of our community.  Young artists contribute their visual artwork, which is professionally hung and framed, as well as a performance artist,  present live with a  professional sound and lighting crew.  Close to 150 pieces of art and 25 performances are enjoyed by over 300 families and supporters.  Also at the showcase are art activities, light refreshments and VIP offerings such as a red carpet and giveaways!  ArtWorks was founded with the first Express Yourself show and this past May we hosted our 25th show!  It is a joy for ArtWorks to welcome back participants every year and introduce new faces to our annual tradition!  After the show, masterpieces are often seen installed in hospitals and companies through the Traveling Art Show.  The Express Yourself shows demonstrate the importance of applauding the efforts of our artists, providing a sense of normalcy and bringing families together for something not medically invasive but amazingly heartwarming.

ArtWorkds Express YourselfOffering patients and families the venue to share their talents is important to ArtWorks but so is providing the tools to create.  The Surprise!Supplies program has launched 32 art carts in 26 hospitals.  These one of a kind pieces of fine craftsmanship, stand about three feet tall and house a full array of artist implements.  From crayons, paper and scissors to craft kits, modeling clay and glitter glue, every cart is replenished three times a year and can be utilized day or night!  Decorated by world-renowned pop artist, Ed Heck, each cart has a custom design that is hospital compliant and a bright staple in so many hospital units.  Volunteers throughout the county have gotten involved by holding art supply collections to contribute to these vibrant carts evoking happiness and creative thought!  Anyone can host a drive year around and no supplies are too small or too great!  When giving these resources, ArtWorks is reminded how often the right instrument can inspire a world of distraction from pain and isolation and world of imagination! 

ArtWorks Collage ArtWorks’ newest program is the Intensive Creative Artist in Residence “ICAIR” Program, introducing professional working artist into hospitals.  Screened, trained and insured artists are able to work both beside with patients and families as well as in small groups.  The current roster of artists includes beatboxers, storytellers, animators, photographers, graffiti artists, percussionists, muralists and so much more!  Each ICAIR residency is custom fit for the uniqueness of the facility and is built be an extension of the child life teams.  Some assignments are a summer series of six workshops and others have been a consistent weekly presence for four years!  

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 With .89 for every dollar raised, ArtWorks ensures that their resources are directly going to the young artist we serve.  Making a huge impact in programs with limited child life staff or providing a value add to robust hospital teams, ArtWorks can meet the creative goals and impact positive change in any pediatric setting.  To learn more about ArtWorks, check out www.artworksfoundation.org or contact them at 201.608.0146.  ArtWorks Executive Director, Amy Sokal, shares “Partnering with leaders in the parenting and child life space, like Shani of Child Life Mommy, allow us to evolve with our partners and stay current on trends and important expansions that will help in sharing the healing power of the arts!” 

DIY Travel Kit For Toddlers

The holidays are here and with that comes lots of traveling. I have blogged about helpful tips and tricks when traveling with kids before, but this guest post will really help you to be prepared when traveling with toddlers.

I am so excited to introduce a very good friend of mine, Amanda Perez-Morris, who is an amazing mama and business owner of Bums and Beans, an online children’s boutique. She is also a frequent traveler with her beautiful toddler, Hazel.bums and beans 5

As a parent, you know how difficult air travel can be with your child, especially if they are in the midst of learning to walk, teething, or even crawling. Their little bodies want so bad to be able to move and explore and the plane seat can be extremely confining. Not to mention, a cesspool of germs this time of year. So before you go on your next flight I challenge you to go prepared. Here is a quick and easy DIY Travel Kit For Toddlers that I put together for my little one when she was 16 months old.

We were only going to be in the air for one and a half hours but you never know when flights will be delayed. My brain immediately goes into what is small enough to take with me but will have a huge impact and give plenty of opportunity to explore different textures, sizes, colors, numbers, etc.

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Shopping List

  1. Felt
  2. Scissors
  3. Sandwich bags
  4. Stickers –The Dollar Store is great for this, plenty of small and large options.
  5. Coloring Book-Again use The Dollar Store for these.
  6. Rigatoni -Uncooked
  7. Ribbon –recycle something from a gift. It doesn’t have to be nice
  8. Small recycled container with a lid
  9. Small rubber or plastic toy(s) that can fit in the container you choose
  10. Sharpie

Felt Storyboards

I used to love felt storyboards as a kid. My parents were super religious so I remember mine involving a Noah’s Arc scene and I believe their was even one with the nativity that I used to enjoy. For my little lady I decided on a couple of different options such as shapes, a flower and sunscape, and a pirate ship. I had some leftover red and white striped fabric so I went with it. Argh!!

Materials: Felt in 5-8 colors, scissors, 2 or 3 sandwich size plastic bags, Sharpie and imagination.

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Flower and Sunscape

Step 1: Cut a rectangle about half the size of your larger rectangle.

Step 2: Cut 5 to 7 petals in different colors, the grass or a flower pot. Then cut a skinny stem, a sun and a moon if you want to discuss night and day during play.

Step 3: When all items are cut place item in your next sandwich bag and label it with a Sharpie.

Play Suggestion:

Discuss the colors with your little one. Even if they are small starting that conversation early has been proven to make a difference in their cognitive and recognition abilities later. In my Educator opinion, it’s never too early! Have them play with the different colors and feel the different shapes. See if they will feel the edges of the shape. This can be sometimes difficult at a young age. My little one basically wants to scrunch up everything in her hand and either throw it back at me or put it in her mouth, so do what you can and see what your child naturally wants to do with the shape. Count each item as you have them place them onto the felt board. Ask questions such as; what do you think happens when the sun goes down? Where do the flowers sleep? I know this may seem silly to do with a 16-24 month old, but believe me this will not be by far the silliest thing you ever do with your kid. Teaching questioning and problem solving skills is a huge part of the Common Core Curriculum. The earlier you start posing questions and even if they can’t answer but start to recognize the inflection in your tone when you ask a question, that helps them get one step closer.

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Rigatoni Necklace

This has become my little ones favorite activity. We do this on days when Mommy needs to mop the floors and I don’t need that added help of having a toddler trying to take a dip in the dog bowl while I mop. This also works on the plane. I love this activity because we can practice our counting and fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are defined as the small actions we make with our hands such as, grasping an object using our pincer finger and thumb. This skill becomes extremely handy when your child needs to start writing at school. Yes, they still do ask your child to write with an actual pencil at school. Gasp!

Materials: Large Rigatoni or any large pasta with a hole at each end, 18-20 inches of ribbon, scissors.

Step 1: Pre-cut your ribbon to 18-20 inches. Tie a knot or two or three on one end.

Step 2: String your rigatoni onto the necklace. I like to start with 5 then eventually we work our way up to 10. Eventually it will be like Mardi Gras in this house and she’ll be able to count only using rigatoni to 50. But baby steps overachievers, baby steps!

Step 3: Place all of your pasta and ribbon into your sandwich bag and label it.

Play Suggestions: Rigatoni can come with ridges. Great for the tactile learner! Have them feel the pasta. Start by stringing the pasta onto the necklace then showing them how to pull one at a time off using their pincer finger and thumb. Make sure to count as you go. Next, try seeing if they can thread the ribbon through the pasta and put as many as possible onto the ribbon. Once again help them count as you go. Repetition is a huge piece of learning so try to do and show this skill as many times as needed until they are doing it on their own.

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Coloring Pages & Stickers

Again this is another one that can help with the development and strengthening of fine motor skills. Picking up small objects (in this case a sticker) and placing it on another object (the coloring page) provides plenty of practice for strengthening those muscles.

Materials: 2 to 4 coloring pages, scissors, stickers of varying sizes

Step 1: Cut your coloring pages in fourths. Don’t worry about the image. This activity is more about teaching them how to peel and stick.

Step 2: My stickers came in a package of 200 from the dollar store so I cut them into strips so she wouldn’t go crazy ripping all of the stickers off of a single page all at once. This activity can also teach self-control if you have an impatient little one like me.

Step 3: Place your stickers and the cut up coloring pages into your sandwich bag and label.

Play Suggestions: This activity helps with those fine motor skills. They will use the pincer finger and thumb grip to remove the sticker and place it on the coloring page. Once again this helps them strengthen that muscle for when they need to hold a pencil. You can also count as you have them pull off the sticker and place it on the coloring page. If you pick stickers that are primary colors you can also use this activity to reinforce color comprehension.

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mandyAmanda Perez-Morris is the Owner and Designer for Bums and Beans an online children’s boutique specializing in limited edition handmade gifts for little ones. Bums and Beans makes everything from cuddle toys, pillows and dolls, bibs, teething blankets, and mobiles. Everything is made in a limited edition format normally 25 or less so you know you are not getting the run of the mill baby gift or décor for your nursery.



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