Kids and Art

Kids and Art

Visiting on the blog today is the very talented Christie from Childhood 101 and I am asking her a few questions about Kids and Art. Something Christie knows a lot about with the recent release of her e-book Art Not Craft.

Christie’s blog in such a source of inspiration for all things play and early childhood education. For those of us in the southern hemisphere and shivering with the current cold snap, make sure you check out these recent posts on Childhood 101 blog:

Be sure to read to the end of the post and see how you can win a copy of her gorgeous e-book!


For those who don’t know you Christie, would you like to give them a little bit of background about yourself?

I am an experienced Early Childhood teacher, having worked in kindergarten and the early grades of primary school, as the Director of a child care centre, and as a presenter/consultant educating other early learning educators. More importantly, I am the Mum of a very busy three year old and the wife of a wonderfully supportive husband. In May 2009, I began my blog, Childhood 101, as an outlet for sharing my experiences as both a mother and a teacher.

Childhood 101 has grown into a place of information, conversation and inspiration for parents with posts about learning through play and creativity, child development, schooling, child care and parenting issues  – really anything which relates to the everyday trials, tribulations and celebrations of being a parent.

Childhood 101 is often called the “home of play”, how has it developed this excellent reputation?

If I could sum up the mission of Childhood 101 in one sentence it would be, “A great childhood is about simple fun, play and learning with the people that you love.”  I am passionate about helping parents and early childhood educators to understand that young children learn best through play. Children learn through all of their life experiences, but especially the playful ones, and that even an activity that looks frivolous to us, as adults, can be important to a child’s learning and development.

I love sharing simple ideas for playful learning to inspire parents to dedicate both time and space for children’s play. Just last week I launched a new area of the blog, Playopedia, a dynamic collection of great play ideas gathered from all around the blogosphere. You can read more about it here.

You released your first e-book this year, Art not Craft – what is it about?

Kids and Art
Art Not Craft is about the importance of art making to children’s learning. Written for parents of children aged 12 months to five years of age, the book includes simple art making suggestions, materials lists and ideas for looking at and talking about art with children, with sections dedicated to Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Collage and Sculpture. Readers will find everything from advice to encourage children who are reluctant to engage in art making experiences to tips for creating an art space at home and storing art materials.

What was your inspiration for Art not Craft?

I wanted to make clear the importance of children’s art making as part of their learning about the world. Through open-ended creative experiences children are developing thinking and reasoning skills, the ability to communicate their own knowledge, ideas and feelings, and a range of important learning behavious and attitudes, including planning and perseverance. By open-ended I mean experiences without the expectation of a child producing a pre-designed finished product (I would call those craft instead of art), experiences that are instead about the process of exploring artistic materials and expressing ones own unique ideas.

What advice do you have for parents who shy away from art with their kids because they find it too messy?

The e-book includes a number of tips for minimising the mess factor of children’s art making, the most important of which is to be prepared. Have everything that you need ready before you even begin, not only the art materials that your child will need but also clean up supplies – damp facecloths are fabulous for not only wiping down children but also tables and floors 🙂 .

What are the top five must have art supplies for pre school aged children?

Kids and Art
Just five? That’s tough (and I may have cheated just a little!);

  1. Paper of all colours , shapes and sizes
  2. Good quality, child friendly textas or marker pens
  3. Oil pastels
  4. A set of paints which include the primary colours, black and white – whether they be child friendly acrylics or a watercolour palette
  5. Scissors and something to stick with; be it tape (sellotape, masking tape and coloured electrical tape are all great) or glue (child friendly PVA is probably the most versatile as you can dilute it if you are just pasting paper but it’s also strong enough for pasting heavier objects).

It is important to realize that not all art materials are created equal and that quite often the very cheap, budget brands do not make very satisfying marks on the page (I think many of us would have seen cheap, waxy crayons which do not contain much pigment and the pale, wishy washy marks they leave on a page), so I always advise parents to buy the best quality they can afford. Not necessarily top of the range, but not the cheapest either.

The e-book includes extensive lists of material suggestions for drawing, painting, collage, printmaking and sculpture.

What tips do you have for storing all the beautiful art work the kids make?

Personally, I have a large box for storing precious pieces in, like the first time my daughter drew a person J These special artworks I date and write a short description of onto the artwork before I store it. Most other interesting pieces are photographed for prosperity and then any that are suitable are repurposed as wrapping paper (Kate over at Picklebums has some wonderful tips for photographing children’s artwork).

I think it is also important to have somewhere to display your child’s artwork as taking the time (and dedicating the space) to displaying a piece gives it value. It shows your child that you value art making as part of their learning.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of Planning with Kids, Nicole.


Readers of Planning With Kids have the opportunity to ask Christie a question as well. Join Christie and I for a Facebook chat on the Planning With Kids Facebook page on Tuesday, 28th June from 9-10pm AEST (which is 7-8pm Perth, Western Australia time). Overseas readers try this time convertor to work out what time it will be in your part of the globe.

By participating in the chat you will go in the running to win a copy of the Art Not Craft e-book, which will be open for international readers as well. You can ask Christie questions about Kids and Art, child development, child care – all things early childhood really!!

How do you get your kids involved in Art?