What Other Expert’s Say
"From the time she first discovers that a crayon can mark a sheet of paper, this kind of play will be important to
your child. Through drawing and painting she will not only learn to manage the preliminaries to writing, she will also learn ... to express some of her views about the world and
her own problems... as well as the pleasure which can come only through her own efforts ... She is exploring the material and its potential, so if you try to make her `draw
Mommy' or `cut out a star' you will be interfering with her play. In the same way, coloring books, painting by number, and many craft kits can set such rigid limits around
the child's activity that they may frustrate and bore her. Stick to open-ended activities until or unless she actually asks for something more structured."
--Penelope Leach, Your Growing Child, (Knopf 1994)
"The relationship between high self-esteem and unfettered creativity is extremely strong. By its very nature,
creativity is a deviant act. It says, `I see things my way and I am willing to let you into my private, perceptual world.'... Studies show that the freely creative youngster
is high in self-confidence, emotional maturity, calmness, and independence. He has the capacity for sustained concentration and involved absorption in his projects. Education must
concern itself with children's emotions and self attitude or it does not deal with the whole child. It is only as a child's total uniqueness is respected that he can
permit his individuality to unfold."
--Dorothy Corkille Briggs, Your Child's Self Esteem,
"The best creative environment encourages children to be playful or silly, to be alone or bored sometimes, to explore
or even fail sometimes ... Children may not choose to `go on with art' as they grow older, but it will always be a part of their life. The most valuable things they get from
art---the flexibility, the decision making abilities, the confidence in their intuition, the feeling of celebration they bring to any creative endeavor."
--Sally Warner, Encouraging The Artist in Your Child, (St. Martins Press, 1989)
"Some may think that the arts are frills. But they are important for complete brain functioning... Perhaps nowhere
else in the entire curriculum do children get to see clearly that an achievement takes time and that it has a beginning , a middle, and a product. A vase starts with a lump of
clay that is rolled, molded, and fired. A poem starts with a single word on a blank page. A dance starts with a first step. A violin starts with a squeak. There is a level of
personal satisfaction in the arts that stimulates a child to learn and to want to keep on learning."
--Dorothy Rich, MegaSkills, (Houghton Mifflin, 1988)
Susan Striker Says
About toys: If it's clever, don't buy it! Your child needs simple toys to play with cleverly.
About schools: Don't bother to read the
brochure; it was written by a professional and makes the school sound perfect. Instead, look at the bulletin boards. If all of the art work looks like real live
children did it, and it is expressive, it is probably a good school.
About camps: If they have color war, run for the hills. Wars teach children to fight. Is that your goal for your child?
About books: Don't stop reading to your child when he or she learns how to read.
About quality time: You can't plan it. Plan for plenty of time; the quality will happen when you least expect it.
Sleeping alone: Animals don't do it, adults don't do it. Why does your child always have to?
Time alone: You'll have more than you want of it later; enjoy your child now.
How to Encourage Your Child’s Creativity
Be a role model. Instead of saying “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler”, say “I love to
create things”. The process of creativity is far more important that the product. If your child sees you taking risks and making things, he or she will follow your model.
Don’t only hang your child’s art on the refrigerator with a magnet. Your child already knows that
“real” art is framed and hung throughout the house. Take something your child makes to the framer and hang it in an important area of your home.
Show a clear preference for your child’s original work. Let your child know that copying, tracing and coloring-in of
adult art is not creative. Help your child understand that solving problems while creating a work of art leads to solving problems in all areas of life.
Verbalize why you “like” a picture. “Pretty” is not particularly helpful. For example, “the
colors are so bright and cheerful, there are straight lines and curvy lines and they look well together, the colors remind me of when you were so sad”, are the kind of
phrases that can help your child expand his or her vocabulary. They also reinforce what is already being done on an intuitive level.
Visit an art gallery or museum with your child. There are many to choose from right in your own town. Look at the art work
and encourage your child to look at and talk about the art without worrying about being correct.
Make holiday cards out of your child’s drawing or painting and mail them to everyone - even your boss!
Have your children’s birthday party guests decorate their own cake, using squeeze tube frosting and candy.
Set aside an area of your home that can always be “messy”. Put an easel, chalk board, crayons, paints, glue and
a box of scraps there. Call it the “art studio”, and encourage daily use.
Buy a big portfolio and save art work. There is nothing more discouraging than working on a picture only to have Mom throw
it out on trash day.
Occasionally buy plain, light colored things for your child to decorate, such as t-shirts, curtains, sheets, dishes,
canvass bags, etc. use them!
Buy a leather-bound blank book for your child to use every day, even when you travel. Use it regularly and it will soon be
a delightful record of your child's growth and development.