Does your family create together? We often think about creating as a solely individual activity, sure we may do it alongside one another, working on the same project in our own way, but how often do we approach art as a group activity? Better yet as a family activity?
Families activities like game playing are the norm and are great tools for bringing family members together and fostering love and companionship amongst siblings. So why don’t we think of art in the same way? In fact, I’d like to pose this question to you: Can art bring families together?
I have three children, ages 6, 4 and almost a year. Up until recently I focused our art projects on my older kids but I have noticed that my soon-to-be-toddler is very interested in what we are up to and no longer content to sit on the sidelines. I’ve been thinking about ways to expand our family’s art activities to be appropriate for broad range of ages so he can be a participant not just an observer.
I came up with this project as a way to get the entire family making art together, and not art to hang on a wall, instead the focus was on process art with an big emphasis on FUN! So for this project I decided to create a little sensory fun for all by painting with edible paint on vinyl. Plenty of room for fun and exploration, super easy clean up! It’s process art at its finest!
Family Process Art
- Edible Paint I made ours using vanilla pudding mixed with food coloring. See the recipe here.
- White Vinyl Sheet or white paper, fabric etc.
- Step One Mix your edible paints and lay down your vinyl outdoors for easy clean up.
- Step Two Invite the kids over!
- Step Three When your kids are done simply hose down the vinyl sheet (and maybe your children too)!
It was fascinating to watch the kids use the same art materials in completely different and age appropriate ways. My baby immediately reached for the paints and tasted them, my 4-year-old daughter couldn’t wait to squish her hands (and feet) into the paint, and my 6-year-old son’s first instinct was to paint with them using a spoon. My son created images while my daughter was interested in mixing the paint colors. My baby did a modest amount of smearing but as you can see by his face afterwards, he was primarily interested in putting everything in his mouth.
- If you use a vinyl sheet please by all means do this project on grass or a soft surface! We started out on our back porch but when I realized how slippery the pudding paint/vinyl combo was we moved over to the grass, this was important because my daughter couldn’t wait to paint with her feet!
- Don’t dictate the rules, just let the kids create! One of the hardest things for adults to do is let children explore without direction. Adults often think of the result they want to see and inadvertently steer kids in that direction through the way they show kids how to use a material. By all means, create alongside your kids but don’t tell them how to do it!
- Add as much or as little food coloring as you can stomach seeing a baby ingest! After seeing how much pudding paint my baby tried to eat, I decided that next time I’d go a little lighter on the food coloring.
- Join in the fun! Have fun with your kids and art; instead of directing a project participate in it! Your kids will see your excitement and will learn from watching you create too.
- Involve your kids in the clean up. Hosing everyone down can be a fun part of the process too!
So what do you think? Will art be the next activity your family tries together? We had a lot of fun with this one, so much so I’m coining this phrase “The family that creates together stays together.” Creativity is a huge part of my life and I can’t imagine not sharing my love of tinkering with my kids. One of the most important goals I see for myself as a parent is fostering love, respect, and good feelings between my kids as siblings. Working together on family art projects is one of the tools I am using to reach this goal. I hope you’ll give it a try too!