Kids love to paint, maybe even more that grownups do. But bring up the word “lesson” and they’ll probably give you a look of disdain. If it sounds like work, it probably won’t be fun, thus stunting their desire to create. Good news: creating a kid’s art lesson that’s fun and educational is easy and will have everyone wanting to do it again and again. The key is to excite their senses with stories, tangible objects, and the incredible joy of putting color to canvas with their hands or brushes.
There are so many options for what to paint, but one we’re fond of is a plant or flower the child helped plant or grow. If you have a kiddo with a green thumb, this is perfect. It’s a great way to tie in another project they’ve taken pride in to painting a still life or landscape if the plant happens to be in a garden.
Of course, you can use anything as a subject, as long as you can attach some lesson to it such as how it’s made, where it comes from, and who in art history painted similar things.
Choose a favorite artist, be they Van Gogh, O’Keefe, Kahlo, whoever. Perhaps you and your little one have grown sunflowers in your garden, or in containers on your balcony. Include a lesson about an artist who painted similar things--sunflowers for Van Gogh, giant blooms for O’Keefe, self-portraits for Kahlo. Perhaps your child’s artwork is based on what they imagine the particular object you’ve chosen to resemble--teach them about Pollock or Popova. You get the idea.
Time to paint! Set up your subject and your artist at a table with a tabletop easel, paints, and brushes, and let them create. Paint with them, and have a conversation about the subject that entails some art history as you go. That’s it!
Any child will be fascinated and captivated by the learning process when there are sensory elements like art and storytelling involved. What better way to increase the scope of a budding artist than to incorporate life lessons into their seemingly purposeless creations? Not only will children learn from an adult who is willing to find creative ways to teach; an adult will learn again what it’s like to see the world through youthful eyes and gain a new perspective.