STEM skills are highly encouraged in Asian countries but there are more and more calls to add Arts, making it the STEAM skills. This is because we need people who are able to think creatively to solve problems and not only rely on Math and Science, facts and figures. Here are a few ways to encourage kids to appreciate art and later art skills from young!
1. Seek out children’s books with good illustrations
One of the first ways a child is exposed to art is when they look through kid’s books. The illustrations are colourful and attractive to engage young readers so they can enjoy the book even if they can’t read yet. From here, they are exposed to different drawing styles and unknowingly observe how animals and houses are drawn.
If you think back to your favourite books, you’ll realize it’s most probably your favourite because of the beautiful illustrations! It’s also beneficial to let a child know who’s the illustrator who drew the images in his or her book so they know it’s actually drawn by a person.
2. Look for art in their surroundings
Children learn from their surroundings first so start looking for art in your own home. If there aren’t any pictures, it can also be the designs on the vase, the tiles and even their favourite cartoons. Have a conversation about art by telling them why you like the specific art piece.
Here, you can introduce art-related terms such as portrait (a picture with a person), landscape (for scenery) or still life (picture of objects). You can also expose them to the different art tools such as crayons, paintbrushes, watercolours, oil and acrylics. Of course, there’ll be a talk about colours as well.
3. Encourage creativity in drawing
Encourage your kids to draw freely. They can start with swirls, lines or squiggly circles. It’s good enough. What’s important is for adults to encourage and be open to a child’s interpretation of their world. If they want to colour a bear in a checkered pattern ala Burberry, let them do it. It doesn’t have to be BROWN or BLACK only!
Adults can be really set in their ways or too logical for kids. As such, sometimes what is actually creativity and good imagination will be criticized and put down by adults. It’s important to remember whatever the kids draw, don’t reprimand or criticize it even if it doesn’t make sense to the adult mind. Jangan skema la.
4. Display their artwork
Parents can show appreciation for their kids’ artwork by hanging them up on walls or stick it on the refrigerator door. You can even loop in your kids to help you ‘decorate’ the wall and pretend play as a museum art director. This also helps them to think creatively. Another way to encourage them to explore their creativity is to set up an art corner or atelier for them.
5. Let them share their views
Other than telling them what you think, let them share their thoughts as well. Parents can do this by asking open-ended questions such as “What do you like about this piece?” “Why don’t you like it?” “How does it make you feel?” “What’s going on here?”
Knowing young children, the answers can be very insightful. They may even point out something you’ve missed or never considered!
6. Take them to art galleries
A good way to teach art appreciation is to take them to an art gallery. This is so they can learn how to respect and appreciate artworks such as no eating, shouting or touching the artworks while visiting a museum. Parents can also seek out art exhibits that are aimed at children too. Make the trip special by letting them take pictures (if it’s allowed) and purchase a few postcards of the artwork to admire at home.
7. Model a sense of wonder
Even if you are not confident in your knowledge about art, know that you don’t need to be qualified to enjoy art. Learn to see the beauty in ‘ugly’ things and encourage that in your children too. Model a sense of wonder and curiosity. This way, the kids will also enjoy art in a fun and stress-free way.