Teaching Art to My Elementary Child

Lindy, Mixed Media

Art is a great joy in this age group! Children are growing in their capabilities, and they should try new things. Much marketing is directed toward your elementary children in the arts and crafts department. Wise product manufacturers know that moms are going to provide creative opportunities for our children. So what products should I provide for my elementary child during these formative years?

Acrylic on Canvas, Lindy Stark

Elementary children’s supplies:

  • smaller crayons, many colors
  • markers
  • safety scissors
  • large sketching pad
  • painting pads for acrylics and/or watercolors
  • construction paper
  • glue stick
  • squeezable glue
  • tape
  • tempera paints, or acrylic paints
  • watercolor paints
  • paint brushes
  • clay
  • sketch pencils
  • colored pencils
  • chalk
  • stamps
  • stickers
  • glitter
  • piper cleaners
  • felt
  • yarn
  • objects for gluing, like foam shapes, pom-poms, craft eyes, etc.
  • arts and crafts kits, can be purchased almost anywhere
  • So, what then are the best arts and crafts kits to purchase for my children?

    The best kits are the ones that you will assist your children in learning to use. You do not have to spend a lot of money to teach your children art. Certain materials are needed, but the most expensive art supplies are all too often wasted as they sit on shelves “waiting” to be used.

    There are wonderful books in the library that teach you how to do art projects with your children. For example, you may be studying Medieval History, so you check out a book on how to build a castle out of cardboard. You may be reading this and think, “I do that already.” Great! You are teaching art to your children! The elementary age is the time to work on these types of projects. Additionally, making something out of nothing (i.e. Trash Sculptures) and creative play should be encouraged.

    Art, like music, is enjoyed alone and in community.

    You will want to get your children out and let them try new types of art in museums, at local places, offering free kids’ craft nights, in Sunday School at church, or maybe just scheduling a play date and choosing a project for couple of families to work on together…like those really messy ones…paper Mache and splatter painting.

    Cover of "Art Projects (Art Ideas)"

    Cover of Art Projects (Art Ideas)

    Basic Drawing:

    In this age group, you will want to find some on-line tutorials, television programs, DVD’s or books that teach step by step drawing methods to your children. It is worth the time investment to teach your child to look at objects in simple shapes and to be able to reproduce those shapes on paper. Learning to sketch with a hard pencil that makes light marks and a soft pencil that smudges and shades well are also good techniques to develop in this age group.


    Jacob, Acrylic on Paper

    While elementary children usually begin with tempera paints, I allow students to experiment with acrylics. These are water based and require some mixing, but many older elementary children paint well with acrylics. Paint by number projects work fine, but I think children develop more through creating their own painting projects. I generally skip those synthetic “kindergarten” brushes, and purchase some nicer craft brushes. You want several sizes of these for your child. There are some very nice and inexpensive ones available. Some even have a soft grip for small fingers. Watercolor paints are more difficult to control, but elementary children can use these, too. I reserve oil painting until middle school, but you may have a child who is a very proficient artist and ready to work with oils.

    3-D Art:

    The ideas are nearly limitless for 3-D art: weaving pot-holders, sculpting and baking clay, jewelry making, making model cars, painting wooden trains, taking and mounting photographs, learning computer graphics, crocheting, knitting, simple sewing, building with Lego’s, wood crafting, etc. Discover what interests your child the most, and encourage that art or craft. In our busy culture today, skilled craftsmanship is not tremendously emphasized because it requires time to pass on and then to develop those techniques. Home school children have a fantastic opportunity to keep the arts prevalent today.

    Since this post is directed toward Home Schooling Mothers, remember:

    1. Incorporating art into your school room should be both spontaneous and scheduled.
    2. Art should be age-appropriate.
    3. Good supplies, but not necessarily expensive supplies, need to be provided and accessible.
    4. Art progresses, just like learning any other subject; and art needs to be taught.
    5. You can do it!!!

    2 Responses to “Teaching Art to My Elementary Child”
    1. Alison says:

      I’d still like to send them to your house! I remember how enthralled Zachary was when you did an art lecture at CC when we visited once. They do take an art class once a month and love it! You have great ideas. I think I’ll be coming back to this post. 🙂


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