We’re on to day 4 of the challenge! Hopefully you’re having fun, getting a lot out of it, and maybe you’re even noticing some transformations. Today’s prompt is one of my favorites, and one of the first process-focussed creative prompts my daughter was introduced to. It’s a high energy, totally unpredictable activity that can act as a tonic for perfectionism.
Quick Tip: The Perfectionist’s Dilemma
“My child is goal-oriented and wants her picture to look a certain way. How do I help her get into open-ended prompts when they clearly make her anxious?”
Maybe you have a child who seeks validation or is averse to mistakes. Wanting things to be “just-so” is completely normal and I see it all the time. The challenge with this mindset is that it can stand in the way of a flexible thinking, mistake-making, and innovation. If you have a child who is easily frustrated when art doesn’t turn out the way it was imagined, try the following ideas and see if it helps.
- Set the stage: Before you begin, explain the art process and your expectations for experimentation and failing forward. You could say something like, “Today we’re going to play with paint and marbles. I want us to have fun and experiment. We might make things we don’t like, but that’s part of the process. Let’s remember that if things don’t turn out as we expect, we can always make another piece of art or figure out a way to fix it.”
- Focus on the materials, not the end result. Your child may feel anxious that she has to produce something specific. Presenting a question such as “I wonder what will happen if I add paint to the glue?” or “Can you help me think of ways to attach this paper to the cardboard?” can take the pressure off and redirect energy to the physical properties of the supplies.
- Model the behavior you’d like to see. Oftentimes an easy fix is to simply start making your own art. By showing your child that you are willing to take risks and be playful, he or she will see that this kind of experience can be fun and low pressure. As you work, you can talk through the experience with comments that emphasize a willingness to make mistakes. For example: “I’d like to make this area brighter. Maybe I’ll try mixing more blue into the paint.” or “Oh, that didn’t turn out at all how I imagined. I can try adding in more lines and see if that helps.”
- Encourage mistake-making: Professional artists created sketches and filled journals before making their masterpieces. Offer plenty of extra paper or supplies so that your child can experiment and build on mistakes and new ideas.
- Acknowledge their feelings: It’s important that we don’t gloss over our children’s emotions because this won’t change how they feel. Address how your child feels and help them work toward a resolution. For example: “I know, you didn’t want it to look that way. This is really frustrating. What can we do about this? Would you like me to help you come up with some ideas?”
Prompt: Let it Roll…
- Tray with Deep Walls such as a Shoebox or lasagna tray
- Poster Paint
- Marbles or small balls
- Paper cut to fit in tray
- Pre-cut at least six pieces of paper to fit into your tray. This can be a popular project, so if you have a few extra pieces of paper ready to go, you’ll be grateful!
- Squeeze paint into bowls and drop a marble into each bowl.
- Add a spoon to fish the marbles out.
- This can get messy, so be sure to set this up on a covered table.
- Have extra paper handy to allow for plenty of painting experiments.
Invite your child to drop the paint-covered marbles on the paper and experiment with rolling them around to make different marks.
- Try this with plastic Easter Eggs.
- Make a rolling rock painting
- Make a white “spider web painting” — or save this for day 7
- Get BIG: Use a plastic kiddie pool and roll larger balls around in it.
- Ask your child to think about what else she could roll in the paint.
- Splatter paint like Jackson Pollock.
Jackson Pollock’s Action Painting technique is classic and he talks about his technique of dripping and the use of objects as tools for painting.
Upload pictures of your art table, snap images of your Art Start creations, chat with new friends in the Facebook group, tag your photos on Instagram, and et the world know that you value open-ended art because it helps your child use creative thinking skills. Share what you’re working on this week on Instagram.This is also a great way to get friends and family involved and let them know what you’re up to!