Even before I had my daughter, I began to dream about the art projects we would do together. I have such fond memories of painting, drawing, and sewing with my sister. Most of our time growing up was spent playing outside, and the rest was spent playing Barbies and doing craft projects! So, I was determined to instill the same love of art in my child from an early age.
There are TONS of sites where you can find age-appropriate projects for your child if you want to get creative with your kids, but I found that simple household objects, cheap (non-toxic) supplies, and a little no-worry attitude was all we needed to get started.
At four-months-old, I let my daughter use finger-paints for the first time. I cleared the table, put her in only a diaper, filled the bathtub with water (for quick cleanup after), and let her “paint.” After about 1.5 minutes, she began trying to eat the paint. By the handful. But, by that time, I already had two pieces of paper with cute, little handprints that I still cherish.
She did eat some paint, but the entire experience was really beautiful. Being that she is my first child, I also felt that this was “letting-go” boot camp for me. Daily messes and spills were about to become my life.
At 6-months-old, we used Dollar-Store paintbrushes and watercolors to create some prints, and I experimented with scanning her artwork into my computer and digitally sketching over the top of them.
I loved feeling like we were creating something together, even at such a young age — our fist mommy-daughter collaboration.
I wanted the entire process of creating art to be a liberating experience, a time to express happiness, silliness, or even anger. So, at a year old, we started our first mommy-daughter “Smash Book.” Essentially, we just took a big journal and “smashed” things into it — markers, stickers, etc. We ripped paper, glued random things to the pages. Any time my daughter wanted to paint or draw, I opened our book and let her do whatever she wanted to the page. While she worked, I wrote, in black marker, little phrases she said or songs we were singing at the time.
This book has been one of my most treasured pieces from her childhood so far.
All her artwork is (pretty much) in this one place, ready for storage in a hope chest. And, it holds greater significance than even the hundreds of photos I’ve taken of her as she’s grown. It’s something we made together and documents seemingly small but special moments we shared.
And, of course, a natural transition for us was purchasing a “Wreck this Journal” book. We’re looking forward to spending the summer destroying this journal, all in the name of art, creation, and destruction!
[…] But my favorite pieces are the ones we create together. […]
Thank you so much for your kind words, Nikki! My daughter went through a phase like that too. And, now that she’s older, almost 3, she gets really frustrated when she can’t recreate the drawings I’m making. I’m afraid that I’ll make her hate art! Haha!
She’s really into building right now — with Legos, wooden blocks, and she likes using toy bulldozers and cars with Moon Sand (that we make with 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup vegetable oil). I’m trying to see that as her “art” and understand that she may want to create things differently than I do right now, but it’s sooo hard. I’m so impatient! 🙂 I want to splash paint, draw pictures, and color with her!
Another thing she really likes is the magnetic drawing board — a Magna Doodle? She just started drawing suns and potato-shaped people on there. We praised her like she had painted a Van Gogh, of course! 🙂
I keep looking for cues from her to see which type of project she’s going to latch onto. I can hardly wait!
I LOVE this idea of a Mommy-daughter smash book of art! I, too, dreamed of the art and craft projects my son and I would do together before he was born. He’s very anti mess and does things in a very deliberate way so it’s hard to get him to paint or draw. I’ve tried the mess free painting, painting the tub, finger paint, painting with found objects, and coloring with crayons. Nope. He hates the paint on his hands and tends to only make one mark on the page before freaking out. I’m hoping that if I just keep introducing “making” activities with him he will come around town joint some kind of creating.