It goes the same way every time. You have a great idea. An idea you are pretty certain your child is going to love. The tricky thing is your child won't slow down long enough to hear you out. Or maybe at the mention of making a project your kid turns to you and at the top of his lungs shouts,
Yeah, that just kind of kills the mood, doesn't it? Who wants to fight to make art time happen. Um...right, no one.
As a parent who wants to provide more creative time for her kids and whose kids seem to be like water and oil when it comes to working with crayons, scissors, and paint it's no wonder that more art time doesn't happen in our home.
That is until recently.
In a last ditch effort to make something happen in the art department of our home (I didn't want to look like a total nerd tie-dying my own T-shirt...alone...again) I decided to try something new. I decided to try transitioning my children to our creative session with a game. Yes, a game. A simple, no supplies needed game.
And, guess what? It worked. I didn't have to tie-dye alone, we made lasting memories, and we were all authentically happy. Yes really. Since that break through day I have applied other games as transition tools, and each of them worked like a charm (If I do say so myself, ahem.).
Okay, so here they are. Three simple games to get you started in transitioning your children into more happy, authentic, and engaged art experiences with your children.
1. I Spy With My Little Eye...
I know, I know, you are probably like, "Wait, what?" Yes, I am using this utterly simple game to engage my kids in an art session. It may seem kind of dumb (excuse the term), but here;'s why it's brilliant. The game of "I Spy" encourages children to stop, look, observe, and most importantly pause and be present for a millisecond. It is a game that can be done on the move, in a car, or at the dining table. It's a great one to use to talk about colors, shapes, and textures. Plus, it is a great lead into any activities or books that have to do with those same art topics. Plus, kids LOVE it. Want to make it more interesting for older kids? Set a time.
How to Transition: Use this game right before you introduce an art activity that explores color, shape, or texture. Continue the game as you pull out art supplies. You can even continue the fun while you start your making and creating too.
2. Hot & Cold
Here's another one of those games that is simple, requires little prep, and uses children's energy to keep the game rolling. We like to play this game as a way to find out art supplies, especially if they are special or unique art supplies. I mean, is there anything better than a treasure hunt? How to play? Simple, take your item and hide somewhere in your work area. Ask you kids to locate it and tell them if they are hot (closer to the item) or cold (if they are further away). Play until the item(s) is found.
How to Transition: Since this game is all about locating a new item there is a whole lot of excitement about finding the item that your kids will most likely be ready to engage and dive in upon finding the item. Want to make this extra fun for older kids? Use yarn or crepe paper to make a maze they have to work through to find the item. Still tell them whether they are hot or cold, but now they also have to jump, duck, and crawl through the mini obstacle course to find the item.
3. Tape Walk
Okay, this one requires a little prep (sorry, not sorry), but it's a fun one, especially if you are creating something that has to do with creatures, personalities, or movement. To play, use painters tape to set up a mini obstacle course on your floor. Create zig-zag lines, lines to jump, step, or leap over. Create shapes to step on, or long narrow paths to tight rope walk. On index cards write or draw images of animals, creatures, or movements for your children to embody as they move through the obstacle course. If they are a bunny ask them how a bunny would make her way through the tape walk. If they are a Giant how would he make his way? Get it? Ak your kids to come up with their own creatures and animals too.
How to Transition: Use the Tape Walk as a way to get kids thinking about a certain creature or a certain way of interacting with the world. Maybe you are about to go work with clay, well before introducing the clay ask your kids to transform back into giants and ask, "How would a giant play with clay?" or "how about a bunny?" Keep the imagination going as you engage with the art materials.
The key is to play, have fun, and be silly with your kids. Sometimes we can get caught up in what something "Should" be like instead of remaining present and engaged with our children. When we come at things from their level not only will they want to engage, but they will begin to look forward to that time together. Let us know if you have any favorite games to warm up your children before you start creating. Here's to many more art sessions that are a bit less reluctant and a whole lot more fun for everyone.