Little 3-year-old Suzy just completed her latest painting. She used different paint colors to draw a series of squiggly lines going in every direction on her paper. “Ta dah!” She squealed. Mommy and Daddy promptly gasped in excitement and exclaimed, “this one is even more beautiful than the last one!” A family hug ensued. The painting was then added to the mini-gallery full of Suzy’s artwork.
In addition to building your child’s self-confidence by complimenting his or her artwork, each time your child completes a piece of work, take the opportunity to have a conversation about the artpiece. For example, if you are unsure what the art represents– is it a cat or is it a tree– just ask. Ask if the artpiece has a title like the art your child observed during a recent trip to a local museum or gallery. Ask your little artist why she chose to use those particular colors. In addition to saying that the piece is beautiful, go into more detail about what was done well. “The lines are so straight!” “The sun is in just the right spot in the sky.” And let your child know that it is clear just how hard he or she worked on the piece.
Have similar conversations with your child when you go on trips to the museum, or when you look at the art in books. Ask about particular aspects of a piece such as the colors used, the direction of the brush strokes or the media used.
When you ask questions about art, your child will begin to focus on different aspects of art and think critically about it. Ultimately, your child will develop a deeper appreciation of art and the skill and thinking that goes into each piece.
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