COVID-19: Artmaking activities for your kids

Families are engaging their children in the creative arts and sheltering-in-place.

Schools around the globe have been forced to close, and governments have issued Stay at Home orders to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Families are now self-isolating and staying at home. This can be both a blessing and a curse if you have children. You may have a toddler or a teenager and are probably wondering how to fill your day.

This is an opportunity to be creative in how we interact with one another, especially with our children. We are innovators as artists. This is the right time to celebrate our creativity…with our children! Are you looking for inspiration? These are just a few examples of how families use art to create connections.

Make space for your creativity.

Children have the right to a place in our homes. Let’s face it, most of them already occupy our homes. Please give them a place to express their creativity and create art.

Denver-based artist Laura Stewart DeRosa transformed her dining room into an “enticing place to create and teach” for her four- and seven-year-old boys. She shares that she set up a clothesline to display artwork and gave each child a whiteboard and markers. Also, she reorganized many art materials so they look new again.

It’s okay for these spaces to seep into other house areas. Stewart DeRosa said, “We don’t have much time, so I’m open to the destruction of the kitchen or studio for creative experiences.”

You can follow how other professional artists juggle creating from home with their children through The Stay at Home Residency project (#TheStayAtHomeResidency) hosted by The New Art Gallery Walsall.

Start at home. You can share an artist’s workspace with your children. Whitney Museum artists offer virtual toursArtists Studio Museum Network allows you to see famous studios from around the globe. Salvador Dali’s studio and home are two of our favorite finds from their website.

Follow the master’s example.

We learn from the master’s in art school. We study their techniques in museums as well as in the classroom. Children can also learn from closely examining the artwork.

Sarah Levine is a mother who lives in San Francisco and uses book covers to inspire her toddler. He gets a head start when she draws some of the main shapes. Then, she lets him interpret classic book covers like Eric Carle’s Hungry Caterpillar.

Start at home! Use the book covers by Beatrix Potter and Maurice Sendak. Artwork Archive user Oliver Jeffers hosts live readings on Instagram every day at 2 p.m. EST.

All of your time should be invested in a long-term endeavor.

Everything is slowing down. We have lots of time! We have (lots!) more time with our children at home. This time can be used to create books, sculpt significant works of art, or build sculptures.

One family is utilizing their backyard and exploring a new type of artmaking–woodworking! Andrew Cunningham is a Gloucester, Massachusetts sculptor who opened his shop to his 12-year-old son. He makes impressive chairs from sticks and is a great sculptor.

Cunningham shares, “We go into the woods to cut black birch saplings. Then we haul it back up the hill. We take measurements and make sketches. And then, we spend the rest of the day building.”

It is a great way to spark imagination and foster creativity in our children by allowing them to gather materials and make plans.

Start at home. Look up Maya Lin’s works, Patrick Dougherty’s, and Andy Goldsworthy’s environmental art with your children and create a project inspired.

Be a role model. Show your love for your children.

Sarah from San Francisco says her son loves to “watch Mommy do it,” and Sarah agrees. This is a great time to spend with your kids. It’s great for us to make art! I love art. This maker’s mom shares that drawing with her son is so much fun for him. “I feel better when I feel like I’m a fun mom.

Laura, a Denver artist, keeps her studio in her home. Laura has her studio in her home. Her two sons are there to join her and sometimes wrestle. Laura says, “this time is important to me because my sons see I am focused on something that interests me.”

Start at home: Are you exhausted? That’s understandable! Let others lead the virtual way. Mo Willems hosts lunchtime doodle sessions. Here is a list of virtual storytimes taken from Time Out.

Turn old artwork into a collage.

Do you use this extra time to clean your house?

Do you get annoyed by clutter but can’t throw away the doodles of your children from years ago?

Turn the art into a collage by giving it a new life. As you assemble the pieces, please talk with your children about the artwork and the time they were made.

You can also make collages from all those magazines you have lying around!

Start at home: Collect the work of collage artists like Man Ray or Joseph Cornell.

Explore negative space.

Are the grumpy vibes caused by being in a confined space?

Turn your defeatist attitude into something good!

Make a piece of art using negative space. Tape a piece of paper or canvas to the wall and let your children paint on top. You’ll see crisp white areas when you remove the tape. Ah, refreshing.

Start at home: Introduce your children to artists who work with negative spaces, like Jean Arp and Rachel Whiteread.

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