The thought of teaching art usually makes parents feel either excited or terrified. These feelings often relate to whether the parent views themselves as artists. If you are good at art, then you’re probably excited to teach it to your children. If you are like me though, you weren’t very good at it when you were younger and haven’t done any art in years, so you are naturally terrified of teaching it to your kids. It’s time to let go of the fear and learn how to teach art even when you aren’t an artist!
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Art is Experimental
The first step to letting go of your fear of teaching art is to change your mindset about art in general. Remember that some of the most famous artists were experimenters! They weren’t worried about sticking with convention, instead they created something new.
Teach art by not teaching anything! Step back from the teacher role and instead be a facilitator.
Provide your kids with materials and let them experiment with them. Start with 1 medium and let them use just that for a week or two. Then switch to a different medium.
Art Mediums to Explore:
- Washable Kids Paint
- Colored Pencils
- Oil Pastels
- Chalk Pastels
- Liquid Watercolor Paint
- Hard Watercolor Paint Pallet
- Acrylic Paint
- Oil Paint
Then introduce mixed media art by giving your kids lots of random materials like buttons, cotton balls, paper, feathers, etc. that they can use in their creations.
Jump in with your kids and explore the materials. Create things yourself. Don’t judge them, just enjoy the process.
This first step to teaching art is all about trying things out, experimenting and seeing how everything works! You certainly don’t need to have ALL the art mediums. Choose a few to get started and you can always add something new in the future.
Once you have enjoyed this time of free art expression and exploration, you can start adding in some directed projects. Always give your kids time each week for their own artwork in addition to specific projects.
You will even be encouraging a growth mindset by approaching art this way!
Teach Art by Utilizing Resources from Artists
Now that you no longer have the pressure of being the teacher, you can learn alongside your children by using resources created by artists.
There is no shame in following written directions for an art project or watching a video and following along!
We recently did this fun mixed media polar bear project. I just followed the directions and did it with my kids.
It was so much fun and there are so many projects like this you can find on blogs for free. Just a simple Google or Pinterest search will help you find what you’re looking for.
I usually search “directed drawing + subject” to find projects like the one above!
Online Art Resources
There are many amazing websites and YouTube channels where you can find great art projects to do with your kids.
Art History Kids combines learning art history with corresponding projects. We’ve been using it for a few months and really enjoy it! You can even get a 1 month free trial to the membership here!
These are some of my other favorites:
In addition to online resources, I also recommend starting a collection of art books. These can be both books of famous artists and books with art projects in them.
Keep these near the table where you most often do art with your kids and allow the kids to explore these on their own. They may choose do do a project or simply be inspired by one they see in the book. Periodically choose a project from a book to do with your kids.
On my blog you can find a list of my favorite books for teaching art to kids.
Enjoy the Art Making Process
Regardless of what materials you have, what resources you use, or your skill level, the key to teaching art to kids is to encourage their naturally curious and creative spirits.
Give your kids the time and space to freely experiment with making art.
It is possible to give your kids an enriching and rewarding art education without being an artist yourself! Let go of fear and instead get excited to learn alongside your children…maybe you’ll even discover you’re not such a bad artist after all.