by California State PTA Family Engagement Commission and Arts Committee
March is Arts in Education month. Here are some resources and tips to help you celebrate:
- Art is something that all ages can enjoy together! The entire family, from grandparents to babies, can participate together in song and dance (even if you are holding little ones as you move). Once a child reaches preschool-age they begin to enjoy forms of visual arts including coloring and painting, which are great activities for the entire family.
- Art is calming. When frustration or stress runs high, participating in a form of the arts can be calming. Taking a moment to listen to a song, write a poem, color a picture, or sculpt something out of clay gives your brain a distraction from its normal thoughts and can lower tension.
- Art can help you express your thoughts. As children grow, they are constantly experiencing new feelings, emotions, events, and situations that can be confusing or overwhelming. When you see your child might be feeling overwhelmed, take a break to paint, play an instrument, write, draw or dance. This allows them to express these new feelings in a way that is developmentally appropriate. This can also be helpful for adults who are dealing with the challenges of loss, grief, or sadness.
- Art builds confidence. As children take an idea and turn it into a finished product they gain skills of problem-solving, resilience, and confidence. Art allows us to think out of the box — we can turn a toilet paper roll into a car or use crayons to make a color we want to use— all skills that are so beneficial to our children in life. There are no rules in creating art.
- Art makes us happy! Think back to the pandemic —when we were locked down and isolated —where did we turn? TO THE ARTS! We watched movies, found new hobbies like baking, photography, or painting. We played our instruments or sang along to our favorite music — experiencing art can evoke joy. Incorporating art into your family routine can increase your family’s happiness, too.
Arts can include:
- visual art including drawing, painting, sculpting, photography, architecture
- performing arts including singing, dancing, drama, playing an instrument
- culinary arts
- digital/media arts including filmmaking, digital photography, graphic design
- literary art including poetry, literature
Now that you know how much value the arts can bring to your family, here are some suggestions on how to make art a part of your family’s regular schedule:
- Have art supplies readily available. Paper, crayons, paper towel tubes, etc. If you have supplies in an easily accessible spot for you, as the parent, creativity doesn’t have to be a chore.
- Schedule time to do something artistic. Take twenty minutes each day to stop what you are doing and participate in an art activity. Take photos during your evening walk, listen to music and dance, draw a picture, or bake something fun — all of these count as artistic activities. To avoid distractions, turn off your phone (or place it in silent mode) so you can be in the moment with your family.
- Allow everyone’s creativity to flow. Use this time to free your mind and let go of the rules you adhere to the rest of the day. Try not to say no, or give too many directions/instructions. If an activity is messy —move it outdoors, put on old T-shirts as smocks, and leave your shoes inside. Do your best to remove all barriers that might pull you away from your art time.
For more ideas on making art a part of your family time, including some fun activities, visit the California State PTA Resource Library.