Art Camp for Kids - Thinking Outside the Box
We all know parents who continually share stories about their kids’ talents and how they have a prodigy in the making. I am totally not one of those parents who goes on and on about their children’s talents – I swear -- but my 8 year old daughter, Hannah, appears to have a talent for art– no really, she does, and I am NOT one of those parents…
I always look for ways to encourage my kids to explore different things that spark their interest. Hannah has always been creative – since she was a toddler and even today, she always has a sketch pad in hand. In the past, she has attended various types of art classes, but something about the structure of it turned her off. Sometimes as a parent, you have to almost force your kids to keep at something but with this, I was worried that if I strongly encouraged her to keep going to the classes, it would turn something that she loves into something that felt like a chore, so she took a break from any sort of structured art class. I just began to look for ways to encourage her to just sketch, draw and create when the inspiration strikes so she doesn’t lose the inspiration.
As I was scheduling out my family’s summer – I signed her up for a week long art camp. They learn about different kinds of art from around the world and then get to create their own works of art based on those styles and influences. And after lunch, they get to swim. It has to be fun if they get to end the day swimming, right?
Right is right! She loves it and what I found most interesting was the approach the art camp is using to engage the kids and keep them interested. They are using popular Group Games. Hannah told me of one where they used of a variation of “Red light, Green light” - when red light is called – the artists have to draw what they see at that exact moment until green light is called and then red light is called again, draw and so on and at the end – they have created their own work of art. You can probably adapt this approach to many common group games like Musical Chairs, where anytime the music stops – they have to sketch whoever sits near them or one I call ‘Secret Sketcher’ – everyone is assigned someone that they are to sketch at various times of day from different angles - and at the end, the group has to guess who the person is based on the sketch.
The campers also did a tie die project where they had to create something with the t-shirt and rubber bands before they dipped it in the dye. Hannah created a person with legs, a face, and arms. Another challenge they were given was to draw something using only one type of shape for the entire drawing. I had actually heard of this before in a blog I read called Super Heroes and Princesses. What’s great about this game is that it’s something that both young and older kids can do.
I had never thought of approaching art with her in that way before, and it seems to be something that has made a real connection. On the drive home this week, she has been bursting with stories about the games and is super excited to show me all the wonderful drawings she has done in her sketch book. At the end of the week, they are hosting an art show to unveil all of the many masterpieces they have created during camp.
Goes to show you – ‘outside of the box’ approaches to encourage and engage kids in learning can be found in places you never even thought of. At least ones that I had not thought of …
If you happen to have a future Van Gogh on your hands, like I do (Van Gogh is Hannah’s favorite artist), here is a website that I have used before that provides a list of Online Art Activities for Kids.
Have fun thinking outside of the box…