If you have a question that’s not answered here, contact Rachelle here and I’ll do my best to answer your question.
MAKER TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND
- This challenge will be high paced. While some of you will love the jam-packed agenda, others may find it challenging. I would encourage you to keep up if you can because the concentration and depth of a daily art practice can help set your path to a regular art-making practice. If you need to spread these out, go for it. I want this to work for you.
- Keep your art table clear. The key to a successful provocation lies in clearing clutter and presenting materials in an appealing way. I don’t expect you to do a whole-house purge (if you do, go go go!), but do your best to create spaciousness and calm around your set-ups.
- This is a whole-family challenge. You will get seven process art prompts that are open to interpretation and can be adjusted to the skills of all ages. I’ll provide a few ideas on how to scale the project up and down according to different abilities. As a bonus, there will also be an open-ended art journal prompt for adults, plus a daily sketchbook prompt in case you REALLY want to get deep into art making this week.
- These prompts are designed to inspire you. I love all of these prompts and have tested them on numerous children, so my guess is that you’ll love them too. However, feel free to adjust the projects to your taste or replace them with projects that appeal to your family’s interests or curiosities. The point isn’t to follow this to a T, but to make creative expression a regular part of your family routine.
- Prepare for Success. Many families are concerned about the mess that goes along with art making. Yes, it’s true, and even as a self-proclaimed glitter fan, I’m right there with you. If you can consider cleaning up after an art session in the same spirit as taking responsibility for cleaning after a meal, it might make you feel better about it. Just as you have to wash forks and plates, washing brushes and wiping down the table are part of the creative process. It may be a pain, but the long term benefits of building creative confidence will be well worth the effort. Cover carpets with a shower curtain or drop cloth. Work in the kitchen or over non-carpeted floors. Cover clothes with an apron (my favorite is an old men’s dress shirt, worn backwards). and cover your table if it’s a precious surface. Keep a waste bin and a damp rag or paper towels in the art area.
- Focus on Process, not Product. Keep your eye on the prize: It’s all about exploration, experimentation, and having fun. There is no right or wrong way about these activities. You may be surprised to see your child use these prompts as a starting point and take the materials in a completely new direction. Yes! That’s exactly what we are going for, so you can own it if that happens.
What age is this designed for?
Ages 2 and up.
Is this an Instagram challenge?
You don’t have to be on Instagram to play. However, if you’re on Instagram, follow me here, repost any of my images, use the hashtag #artstartchallenge and tag me at @tinkerlab. Also, invite a friend to join you! It’s a fun way to share your progress and Instagram friends can also be great motivators.
If I have a toddler and an eight year old, will this work for us?
My kids aren’t in preschool. Will these activities appeal to them?
Absolutely! I’ve even seen adults try all of these activities with great success. Because they are process-oriented, these projects meet the artist wherever they are. More experienced makers will simply bring more ideas to the table. Try it and let me know what you think!
Will it take a lot of time?
This challenge is designed with the busy family in mind. You will be asked to complete a short journal entry and try one art starter for the seven days of the challenge. The Art Starters will be easy to set up (give yourself 5-10 minutes) and should measure high on the fun scale for kids of all ages. If you don’t want to work over the weekend, you can carry the Art Starters into the following week.
I work full time and feel overcommitted. What tips can you offer me?
First, pat yourself on the back for taking the hard step toward bringing more creativity into your family life. I know, it’s one more thing to think about, but I promise you that this one is important. Second, take control of the things that are within your control: when you do the activities, how you set them up, rules around clean up. If you can find time to set up an activity, either after your child is in bed or before she wakes up in the morning, it will give you more patience when it’s actually time to sit down and create. This is also where having a plan helps! The challenge is 7-days long, but if you need to spread it out over more days, that’s fine. I want to see you succeed, so the most important thing is to give yourself a little space and be okay with imperfection.
What supplies will I need?
You’ll receive a shopping list the Thursday before the challenge starts. You’ll be surprised to find that many of the supplies are already in your home and I’ve intentionally curated activities that are low cost. If you join late, just jump in and join us when you start.
Will this work be frame-worthy?
While the process-based Art Starters will engage your child’s heart and mind, the end product may or may not be frame worthy. You will decide! With young children especially, I encourage a healthy diet of process-based, intuitive art making experiences that celebrate material exploration. Follow your child’s curiosities and you will be rewarded by the gift of their imagination.
I’m a teacher. Can my class join?
Yes, that would be so fun! While this is designed with families in mind, simply scale up the supplies and try this with your class.
Does this cost anything to join?
No, it’s free.
When will you send me the Supply List?
You’ll receive the complete supply list via email as soon as you join.
How will the content be delivered to me?
The prompts are sent out via email one day ahead of time, to give you plenty of time to prepare for the following day. Emails go out around 10 am PST.
What happens if I join the challenge late?
This is a LIVE challenge, so you will receive emails based on when you join. If you miss any of the emails and want to catch up, you can download the 54-page challenge guide here.
Will the supplies be affordable?
I’ve made every effort to keep the supplies to a minimum while also introducing you to new and exciting materials. If you’re serious about starting an art habit and making more time for creativity, I’m certain that these supplies will get used over and over again and the investment will be well worth it.
My space is not set up for this! Should I skip it?
Please trust me when I say that your space is good enough. Our family of four lives in a tiny cottage and if we can make it work, so can you! Art making can happen just about anywhere: coffee table, the floor, dining table, counter top, balcony, patio, blanket set up on a lawn. Just to name a few! Although my kids once had a dedicated art table, they would make art just about everywhere else. Just pick a spot to start with, clear a little room to store basic art supplies. We love this cart from IKEA because it’s flexible and can move around.
What will we gain from this experience?
Your child will experiment with a large variety of art materials, which will build creative confidence, your family will spend meaningful time together, you will feel how light and easy art making can be with the help of a plan and supply list, and you will have fun!
Will I be expected to help my child make art?
No, not at all. If you LIKE to make art with your child, by all means, keep at it. If you’re more comfortable setting up the project and then watching from the side, these projects will work for you. They are designed for ages 2 and up. If you have a young toddler or early walker, they could be engaged with a bit of help from you. Otherwise, children should be able to access these activities without too much assistance from you.
I am STILL worried about the mess! Any tips?
One thing that can help is to get everything set up ahead of time so you have some sense of control: clear the table, set up the supplies, place a waste bin nearby, have a few damp and dry rags handy for cleaning hands and messes. You can set some ground rules (i.e. painty hands stay in at the art table, hold your hands together on the way to wash them, have fun while respecting your siblings’ work) Once you’re underway, be open minded and ready to pivot to your kids’ interests.
I have a child who is anchored to rules and risk-averse. What should I do?
One thing that can help your risk-averse kiddo is if you jump in yourself and use language such as “I wonder what will happen if I mix these two colors together” or “I’ve never done this before and I’m excited to see what will happen when…” Presenting yourself as a risk-taking role model can go a long way!
Can I invite a friend to join me?
Yes! That’s a great idea. I love having accountability partners because they keep me going and I love to see how friends interpret the same prompts. Simply send them a link to his page and invite them to join us.
5 easy steps to set up a TinkerLab at home.