Creating the Opportunity for Art


Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Art plays an important part in our family life.  My husband loves to draw, and he works in all kinds of media:  he creates beautiful works with pencil and paper -he sketched my most beautiful and detailed tattoo.  He’s a master at MS Paint and creates astoundingly intricate pictures with that simple program. Beyond drawing, he can take a pile of scrap wood and his power tools and turn them into anything from sturdy utilitarian shelves to a whimsical bird gymnasium for our parrot.  For my part, I love to craft jewelry:  I love working with silver, beads, resin, and searching for found items inspires me to create fun wearables. Our house is filled with projects – some complete, some in progress, some barely started, and some which are little more than a bag of supplies from the art store awaiting attention.

We even live in a great area for art.  Our local downtown has at least a dozen art galleries which are featured in the frequent art crawls which draw thousands to the city for a night of music, art and food.  The local pottery shop offers classes for all ages.  A nearby art academy offers art instruction for children as young as five years old.  The annual art fair brings artists from all over the region to share their work with the public.  Everywhere you go, there’s art, and we like it that way.

Because we value art, we want to give our son every opportunity to express himself through creative creation.  We want to create the opportunity for him to be an artist, in whatever way he may define that word. We want him to have not just the tools but also the encouragement necessary to create.  Organic or natural learning and discovery is a big part of natural parenting, and that principal easily extends to art and creative creation.  At nineteen months old, our son is just getting started, but we’ve been pleased to see him taking a real shine to creative expression.

Drawing is an easy art form for little ones, and our toddler has found chalk to be his favorite medium.  When rain or hot weather make the sidewalks an unsuitable canvas, he has free rein over a chalkboard installed onto the back side of our kitchen counter – just the right height for him.  While chalk isn’t always available to him (because, at nineteen months, he does not yet understand the distinction between appropriate drawing surfaces and, say, the floor) it is always available upon request, which is usually by a very excited pointing finger and the word “Chah!  Chah!”  His enthusiasm is exciting.

Soap fingerpaints have provided another medium for the toddler to explore art.  He loves the texture of the goopy bright-colored soaps, and he enjoys painting the tub, his bath toys, and himself in red, yellow and blue.  Crayons and pens are always available to him, even if he still prefers to use the pens to color his arms and legs.  As he grows older, we’ll be finding new ways to encourage creativity.  Ultimately, he’ll have his own crafting/drafting/workbench like his parents each have.

At nineteen months old, Jack has already shown a great deal of imagination in his daily play, and if his interest in coloring is any indication, I”m sure this imagination is going to translate into a desire to create.  While I’d never want to push him too hard into something, I think it is our job as parents to make sure that he has the tools he needs to explore his interests as they develop.  I’m excited to see how his interests in all things artsy play out as he grows up.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Family Draw Time Art ShowKate Wicker shares art (and inspiration!) from her family’s cherished tradition of family draw time.
  • The Rules of Creativity: Learning to Create with the “Non-Creative” — Zoe at Give an Earthly shares how she learned to accept her “non-creative” child and claims that anyone, child or adult, can be creative given the right handling and environment.
  • Creating With Kids: 4 Ways That Work For Us — See how Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings nurtures creativity with her kids through craft projects, outdoor creative play, celebrating the creative process, and setting up “little spaces of beauty.”
  • Creating memories, not things — Mrs. Green from Little Green Blog reflects on life with a ten year old and how ‘creating together’ has evolved from ‘things’ to memories.
  • The Gift of Creation — It may be hot, but Kellie at Our Mindful Life is already thinking about winter.
  • Hidden Talents — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how providing the opportunity for creativity sometimes means learning to look for hidden talents in unusual places.
  • Creating Joy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she and her one year-old son create joy for their community.
  • How to do Crafts with Kids — Gaby from Tmuffin guest posts at Natural Parents Network and describes how to keep things simple when doing crafts with kids for magical (easy-to-clean, and tantrum-free) results.
  • Sugar & Spice & Baking on the Kitchen Floor — Carrie at Love Notes Mama enjoys making a mess in the kitchen with her daughter.
  • Young Scientist Makes Purple Potion — Hannah at Wild Parenting loves being a lab assistant for the young scientist in her life.
  • Making a butterfly house — Lauren at Hobo Mama demonstrates the proper way to build a wooden butterfly house with a preschooler.
  • Nurturing Creativity — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares the enjoyment she feels in nurturing the creativity of her children.
  • Home School Music – Sparking A New Generation Of Musicians — Based on her musical background, Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she creates with and teaches music to her children.
  • Creating (im)perfectly TogetherMudpiemama shares some of the highlights of a summer spent building everything from ships to hoops but most of a lesson on letting go of perfection.
  • Family Soccer Kick Around — When her children wanted to play soccer, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children helped organize something that would work for her family.
  • Creating Memories Together on Skype — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how you can create memories online with adult children or anyone who lives in another city or country.
  • We’ll always have Halloween: Creating costumes for kids — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama is not the craftiest mom on the block, but she does make a mean homemade Halloween costume.
  • Let’s Make Juice! — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment shares about the benefits of juicing with kids, as well as a quick recipe.
  • Everything’s Better When It’s Homemade — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro praises the art of homemade goods.
  • Creating the Opportunity for Art — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares how her family has created an environment conducive to art.
  • 10 Easy and Functional Crafts Preschoolers Can Do with Minimal Assistance — Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers ten easy crafts preschoolers can do while sitting near parents — but they don’t need a lot of parental help. Added bonus: all of these ten ideas double as something functional (gifts, decor, educational).
  • Creating with Kids: Singing Together — Ana at Pandamoly details the important role music takes in her household and provides a quick (and easy!) tutorial for creating fun songs to sing together!
  • Create This — jessica at instead of institutions considers different aspects of creativity including those without an end product.
  • Make Your Own Pocket Bib — A tutorial from Amy at Anktangle on how to make two simple and quick bibs to keep your little one clean at the table.
  • Creating Together in the Kitchen — Despite not feeling “crafty,” Momma Jorje finds a way to create and connect with her toddler.
  • An Artist-Mama’s Perspective — In this post, Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the differences between her choice of artistic outlet and her son’s, and how they embrace those differences together.
  • Heart of the Home — Jona at Life, Intertwined shares some highlights of cooking with kids.
  • Getting creative with kids — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares how much she enjoys watching her daughter getting creative.
  • Creating with Children – The Nature/Seasonal Table — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama celebrates the rhythm of the natural world with her toddler through the creation of a seasonal nature table.
  • How Involving My Kid Saves My SanityThe Happy Hippie Homemaker explains how involving her toddler in projects allows her to get more done, while providing valuable opportunities to teach and to bond (added bonus: amazing oatmeal raisin cookie recipe!).
  • In the Kitchen with Kids — Cooking with Real and Pretend Food — Terri from Child of the Nature Isle engages her kids in the kitchen with culinary creations of both real and pretend food.

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9 Responses to Creating the Opportunity for Art

  1. Dionna @ Code Name:

    We need to have another theme about adults and creating – you'd surely have some beautiful things to share with everyone :) I'm glad that you are able to connect with your kiddo through your love of art – it will be interesting to see how that unfolds throughout the years.

  2. Ana @Pandamoly

    I really love the idea of the chalkboard installed on the back of the counter. I really want to get one for my son, too. I think it's great that you're starting early and encouraging your son to create and express himself (even if it is on his arms or the floor) – I have a friend with a 3 year old who still isn't really allowed to have crayons, let alone any other medium. We've tried crayons with Niko – still a little too early, although I think he kind of understands… I'm just patiently waiting for trips to the park to draw trees and sidewalk chalk murals.
    Ana @Pandamoly recently posted..Creating with Kids: Singing Together

  3. Amy

    What a lovely, creative environment you're providing for Jack! I've never heard of those colored soaps for the bath…I'll have to go find some of those for Daniel to play with. Thanks for the idea!
    Amy recently posted..Make Your Own Pocket Bib

  4. Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    That's awesome. It sounds like you're well on your way to creating another artist in the family! I love how excited he is about participating.
    Lauren @ Hobo Mama recently posted..August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Making a butterfly house

  5. I Thought I Knew Mam

    Cool! I've never heard of the soap paints before. Maybe it will help Baby enjoy the bath a bit.

    I love that you're creating an art conducive environment for Jack!
    I Thought I Knew Mam recently posted..5 Ways to Find Eco-Friendly and Non-Toxic Furniture and Decor

  6. Tmuffin

    You know, the chalkboard has been a huge hit in my house too! We painted a wall for him, and I've had 2 other friends follow suit. Of course, he just discovered that chalk is fun to draw everywhere (like all of his toys) and the other day he drew on the wall with chalk. I gave him a Mr. Clean magic eraser and showed him how to erase it, and now erasing is just as much fun as creating! Chalk is so forgiving! Much better than when he got his hands on a sharpie.
    Tmuffin recently posted..Creating With Kids – Don’t Bite off More than you can Chew

  7. Amanda @Let's T

    Sing it, brotha.

    I'm not stranger to art myself (my mother has taught art in some capacity for nearly 40 years) and I, too, have been exposed to countless art galleries and openings and mediums…I love it! I feel like I'm always waiting for my children to get older so they can do all the things I want to do with them, but I am always reminding myself that they need to do things now, too. They have a chalk board as well, but Piper finds chalk to be tasty, so it doesn't come out much. :)

  8. jessica

    I had forgotten about soap finger paint! thanks for the reminder :) . I'm not one for chalk (sensory thing) but we've done something very similar with white boards. there nothing better than a surface that can be used over and over!

  9. Mrs Green @ littlegr

    It sounds like you live in the perfect area to nurture your creative streak as a family – and what a load of talents you share between you! I love the sharing of excitement on your son's face when he sees the chalk! My daughter at 10 still loves drawing out hopscotch on the patio with chalk; I'm sitting here looking at it now :)
    Mrs Green @ littlegr recently posted..Day 10 of happiness – getting in control with food inventories

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