I was an elementary art teacher for many years, teaching at levels Kindergarten through 6th grade at several school systems. Together with another teacher in the field, we wrote the founding curriculum for a large school district in Farmington, Maine. It was a wonderful experience because who doesn't love the kids who take out a box of crayons and says, "let me see what I can do today." My job was glorious because of those children. I taught in three county schools and saw around 1000 students/week. I followed them through sixth grade and could proudly call each by name.
This post will be a collection of art supplies that are available at Amazon (links) and your local art supply stores. Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Clicking the links below and making purchase of any of these products will be an Amazon commission for me but will have no cost to you.
Let's start with CRAYONS:
"It's the rare baby boomer who doesn't remember one like it — the first box with the built-in sharpener." Crayons take us back in time with their look, scent, and feel. A Crayola box of 64 colors is a fond memory as captured by this article, The Colors of Childhood (Smithsonian Magazine)
The benefits of coloring:
fine and gross motor strength
use of tools
Children learn to explore their coordination as they move the crayon with their hand (sometimes, both hands).
They also learn that they can vary the amount of pressure and color "light" or "dark".
Eye-hand Coordination is important, and through use of this writing tool the child discovers that the physical movement of their hands make a difference in small or large spaces.
I could go on and on. We can talk color recognition, color matching, creativity and self-confidence. Crayons are not only a nostalgic memory in the brains of we, adults; they are the heart and soul of children exploring on paper.
To watch an Art Lesson on using crayons to create a scratch art picture, click here:
Scratch Art on YouTube video.
Let's shift to drawing. Drawing isn't just an art. Drawing is not an innate gift; it's a way to communicate: Think caveman. What parent hasn't kept a drawing by their child in grade school that is super simple, yet says so much. This was done by our daughter who was around 7 yrs old. The figure is pretty sophisticated, but the perspective is clear and typical: "the sky is UP there, the grass is down there, and LIFE is in the middle." (I'm an artist so I'll leave the psychological thinking to others).
What has definitely changed since my days of teaching is that the visual stimulus involves a world-access to images. What kid now doesn't have a tablet or stylus to set his sights on what he wants to draw or paint, use clay, or yarn, or cloth, or chalk....the world is their oyster. When people see my artwork they ooh and ahh, and then they say, "I can't draw a straight line." I would laugh, but as I have grown older I realized that EVERYONE can draw; a straight line, or a crooked line, or lines and shapes, and colors. Yes, we each have gifts and it sometimes takes time to discover those "gifts" but when we do...my, oh my, how the world is changed.
It's an easy check of the internet to find art lessons by the dozens. YouTube has a separate channel called, YouTube Kids where you can find plenty of art lessons with a quick search.
Bottom line is that I could name a hundred supplies for you to put into your child's hand, and just let their imagination go. A lot of things are around your own home. If you have some watercolors or even food coloring, a straw, and a piece of paper? Just blowing that paint around the paper will keep that child busy for the joy of unexpected shapes that she creates.
Clay in a child's hand is amazing. The tactile feed of that substance has made my students squeal with delight. [Read my story about this from a chapter about Rick Hoyt in the book: One Letter at a Time by Dick and Rick Hoyt with Todd Civin. "He Moulded the Clay" by Annie Mason]
There are so MANY art supplies that will thrill a child. Yes, digital art is an modern techniqe but there is nothing like having something in your hand that translates to a beautiful work to enjoy. You never know what inspiration, creativity, excitement, and joy you can watch when your toddler comes to you with his "masterpiece." And, it is.
Here is a source for you: 8 Great Online Art Classes for Kids
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You will notice a coloring book in the items above. I colored when I was young and it never "squashed my creativity". It's also helping a lot of adults relax, so there's that.
See: Barnes&Noble list of Coloring Books for Adults, Children & Teens
Thanks for letting me share this with you. I hope that this gives you a broad look at how art can fill our lives with beauty and joy. It's what I do as anniespalette
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