Do Art with your Child – Tips and Giveaways!

The last time I was exposed to any form of art training was in Secondary School. With a teacher teaching art to a class of 30+ other classmates, there was hardly any art techniques that I could learn effectively. All I recalled from my past art learning was that I detested doing Still Art.

So when K turned 2 years old, I was determined to expose him to as many art experiences during home-learning.

Open-ended art were the first experiences in art that got him to try. There were no set ways to create something, these art experiences were just focused on new art mediums that supported his self-expression. Having an empty canvas and tools to create anything he wanted, was rather engaging for a child below 4 years old.

Art Home Learning1

Nonetheless, open-ended art experiences can get rather haphazard and it often ends up to be just an exploration of art materials for the child.

It is good to provide opportunities to explore art materials and tools, but when a child approaches 3-5 years old, parents need to start thinking about how they can seamlessly expand ideas to foster the child’s mental development through open-ended art experiences.

Here are some methods I have used to maximize learning during open-ended art experiences;

1. Ask open-ended questions and prompts, “Tell me about what  you have drawn?”

2. Make objective observations about the process to the picture, “I like how you have used yellow for the tree and how it blends into the green color,” instead of “I like your picture.”

3. Encourage the integration of language and writing, by encouraging a dictation of the child’s story behind the art creation. Often children will have their own stories and will want to expand on their art piece as ideas start to develop further.

4. Write a verbatim of the child’s explanation of his creation, either behind the art piece or a separate piece of paper. Eventually the child will be encouraged to model this behavior and want to start writing their own stories and creations.

Art Home Learning2

Here’s how I managed to incorporate language into an Open-ended Art experience with K when he was 5 years old.

There are many advantages to open-ended art experiences, as it can give the child opportunities to expand basic concepts, use problem solving skills and language expression. It also fosters mental development, as he expresses his feelings, thoughts and ideas that he wants to communicate. The child will strengthen his ability to observe, imagine and create with open-ended art experiences.

  How about Structured art experiences?

Some art educators frown upon structured art lessons for children below 7, as they feel that structured art stifles a child creativity. But I think that children can be exposed to both structured art and open-ended art experiences from 4 years old onwards.

Structured art is more product oriented, as it is useful to cement the ideas learnt from the process, may even come in the form of doing craft that is related to a theme that the child is learning. Or a set process for the child to learn a particular art technique.

I did not have any proper form of art training before doing structured art with K, but learning from books like Maryann F. Kohl, Mona Brookes, doing read-alouds with K using the Katie series of books were pivotal to encourage art appreciation and instrumental to introduce Open-ended and Structure-Art experiences during Home-learning sessions.

Here’s an example of a Structured Art Home-Learning experience I had with my son, that incorporated an open-ended outcome.

Children s Art Books 6

Effective Art Home-Learning experiences will give children the opportunity to connect to other curriculum areas, while focusing on creative thinking and problem solving. Modelling technique are necessary to guide and empower the child through the creative process, as most children might be overwhelmed by a new concept or new art materials and not know where or how to begin.

Remember to focus on the process and not the final product!

Children s Art Books 7 Have you tried art experiences at home with your child? And what are your favorite mediums (craft, paint, color pencils, pastels etc)?


Giveaways for Catch-Fortywinks readers! 

To help readers of this blog guide your children along on their Art Home-Learning experiences, I will be giving away 4 sets of art-learning books.

All you need to do is to answer the above question, leave your children/s age in the comment, and I will be doing a random pick for 4 winners. Don’t forget to leave your email address when filling up the details of the comment form, so that I can drop you an email if you have won any of these books.

Giveaway closes 31st July 2014.

Art Books1 Art Books2 Art Books3 Art books4

For other Home-Learning tips and ideas, view article links from this page

The Giveaway Winners are;

Screen Shot 2014 08 04 at 1 55 46 PM

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  1. We do mostly craft at home with recycled materials. Once in a while we work with paint and canvas. Thank you for hosting the giveaway. One of the books u’ve got here is in my to-purchase list. My kids are 7, 5 and 3.
    My email is
    diana´s last blog post ..[Giveaway] Singapore Parenting Congress 2014 – “Connecting with Digital Teens and Tweens”

  2. I have yet to try any of the art mediums at home yet (the husband’s is pretty ocd about dirtying the walls) but I want to start him on some pastels and color pencils soon!

    *keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I’ll win*

    Thanks for the giveaway rach!
    Cherie´s last blog post ..On Prime Time TV with OSIM uShape!

  3. I started art on Faith, my 20-month-old girl, recently. We started with crayons and then subsequently paint. For now, it’s open-ended art experience for her. All I want for her is to explore colours and fill the paper with them. It’s just introduction for her at this point in time. 😉 No favourite medium as of now but we are using paint a fair bit.

  4. the latest medium she uses are 0.5mm pens. I would say she did a great job though I never really guided her. she is 5 yo. Thanks for the giveaway.
    joey´s last blog post ..Handsewpatchwork Sew-a-long Block 3 – Bow Tie

  5. Our favourite art medium is shaving foam paint! Cheap, smells good and lots of fun! My kids are 6 and almost 3.
    Angie @ Simply Mommie´s last blog post ..The Skyline Luge Adventure {Review & Giveaway}

  6. Our favorite medium is recycled materials like cardboard, etc. They are 5 and 3 years old.

  7. When Kyle couldn’t write, I found out that he extremely loves the paint brush. It will be difficult to get him to sit down for any activity but never was it difficult if it’s painting. Kyle’s loves painting and is still into painting now. At least once a week, we will do free and easy painting at home and he has recently started formal art lessons with Heart Studios. Mummy don’t know how to teach him. :p Kyle is turning 5 soon!
    Ting´s last blog post ..Round the Moon, Blue the Sky

  8. Carol Lim says:

    We do light paint ing with poster colours & doodling with crayons n Pens. My kids are aged between 1 and 5. Sets 3 and 4 look really intriguing.

  9. My boy is almost 3 years. We’ve done art ever since he could squish paint with his fingers, knees, feet and bum! Till this day, he still loves art – at home and at school. Our latest favourite is sand art!
    Mei´s last blog post ..Your very own public transport

  10. We do crafts with recycled materisls, & do painting & colouring with color pencils, pastels etc.
    I usually let them draw freely without any theme. I wanted to teach hm some structured drawing BUT i am bad in drawing!
    My kids are 10, 8, 5 & 3.

  11. Robert Sim says:

    My three-year-old boy loves to dabble in batik painting – it doesn’t matter even when he paints outside of the lines or mixes up the colours. The batik pieces turn out good-looking anyway.

  12. Oh yay thanks for this giveaway! I am one of those who loved Art in school but hated it at the same time cos I could appreciate it but I was so bad at it! With my kids I have no idea how to introduce art to them so most times it’s drawing with markers at meal times or painting with washable paints in the shower. Unless you count chalk drawing on pavements? 😉
    I’m Adora and my kids are Poppy,6 and Calla,2
    Adora @ Gingerbreadmum´s last blog post ..When the Potty is the Enemy

  13. So far, we’ve mainly experimented with crayons and coloured pencils, though Noah recently had his first experience with paint, and seemed to like it. Any one of these books would definitely come in handy for a very unartistic mummy, to help my two-year-old learn more about art!
    Adeline´s last blog post ..Review: Round the Moon, Blue the Sky

  14. Chai Ooy Yoan says:

    Wow, that is a lot of useful books! I am an art dunce myself. In fact, I have never done a single piece of art homework. My sis whom love art did them all for me during our schooling days. I do realize though how important and useful art is during science reports! And thus, I felt that I need to provide my son with the exposure to it at least. And so to Mr. Google I went for ideas.

    When he was younger, I bought cheap materials from Value Shop or Daiso for him to mess with freely anyway he like. When he had shown more interest by asking me for materials to create his “inventions” which in his terms is art and craft work, Mr. Google was my best friend. And being a dunce, I don’t even know what is the right keyword for ask Mr. Google at times. And the results are I get are usually some suggested activities. I wanted my son to have a sense of appreciation for artist and to learn some techniques. Your books seems like a marvelous place for us to start!

    And again, I saw WOW to the books you mentioned.

    I suppose my favourite mediums are those free and yet good markers. I thought they are about the right size for preschoolers. They are free and we can draw and color on any recycle papers and it still visible. But I think my son’s favourite is scrap papers, scissors and glue. He invented peek-a-boo puppets, lift the flaps picture monster, etc….or so he thought he invented…….since he haven’t seen any yet when he discover he could make them.

  15. I started using non toxic, washable paints when Xav was 1.5 yrs. Usually, we like to use papers, recycled materials as well as textured mediums for the feel and fun of it. Thanks for hosting the giveaway ! Looking forward to win any book of the above and get started with Vera soon !

    I’m Serene with kids Xavier, 6 and Vera (coming to 1)
    Serene Seah´s last blog post ..{Review + Giveaway} Mustela Vitamin Barrier Cream 123

  16. We paint a lot. E started messing around when she was 1 years old, and A has also picked up his older sister’s love for art. We also use crayons, colour pencils and markers, though I keep telling myself that I need to be more creative in terms of the mediums we use. Recycled materials such as cardboard also plays a huge role. I would like to experiment more, but as I’m not very artistic, it is a challenge. So it will be great if I can win any of the books, who’s trying hard to find something other than painting to do.
    I’m Winnie, and my kids are Elizabeth (4.5) and Aaron (2.5).
    Thanks for hosting this giveaway!!
    Winnie´s last blog post ..Easy breezy with Drypers Drypantz

  17. alverna says:

    we just did artwork over the weekend. My daughter likes crafts work, doing her own creatin give her a sense of achievement.
    We had done up an origami teacher’s day card,and we are happy and excited to send it out soon.
    Artwork will let me understand more on my daughter, how she express her feeling, the way she views things and even tells me her emotion. Training her multiple skills too. Mostly, we can have discussion and children feel goods to see her idea been put into place. My daughter is 7years old. My email address,

  18. So far I’ve really only used recycled materials and washable poster paint. Mainly cos that’s all we have at home. But I’ve just taken a short sabbatical so i hope i can do more with my girl now with more advance art materials including acrylic or chalk pastels (hopefully cos i also did not have any formal art training). Hope we get there! Meanwhile her random scribblings now are largely crayons and markers cos that’s all she can self help too.

    My girl is turning 5 years old in september so hopefully from her end she’ll also be equally excited about learning more about art with me. :)
    Ming Yuan´s last blog post ..Long distance call…

  19. Judy Foo says:

    I started introducing washable paints to my boy when he is 1 yr old. Slowly, we moved on to acrylic and tempera paints. We tried doing crafts with recycling materials too although mummy not too good at it! Now, he’s more interested in craftworks and doodlings. I would like to win these books and explore the various mediums and techniques used in it with my boy. I can learn how to draw and paint at the same time too! My boy is 6yrs old.

  20. jaslyn tan says:

    Hi I have only try canvas painting using acrylic paint with my 2 kids 3 yrs old and 5 yrs old. Mostly they will do colouring using pastel so it will come in handy if I win these art books. Thank you.

  21. Shir Su says:

    hi Rachel, thanks for sharing these resources. My three and a half year old just started art classes. I don’t know how to teach myself, and am too OCD for it too! Hope to win Set 3 or 4 as I think the titles sound really amazing. Thanks for your generosity.

  22. Yes. My favorite are what the children (1 and 3) enjoy working with – paint with brushes, vegetables, cardboard; stencils; markers crayons. But we would definitely like to find and try out the other types of medium and art experiences from the art books!

  23. Hi, my eight-year-old son enjoys drawing pictures of tanks and army stuff, and he uses pencils and colour pencils. When he was younger, he used water colours. We also did some tracing with stencils and printing with sponges. It would be nice to try out some art techniques from the books. Thanks for the lovely giveaway.

  24. I don’t ever remember doing any art in school, but I do appreciate art, and am always trying to introduce some classics to them. I’ve also tried reading up on various techniques to introduce to them but they always have ideas of their own! Their favourite seems to be painting – like painting an entire sheet of paper black, or painting themselves -.- Well, I guess as long as they’re happy right??

    My kids are 2, 4, and 6, and you can email me at mailmummyed (a)
    Edlyn´s last blog post ..Shanghai 2014: Putonghua Summer Camp at YK Pao and learning Chinese as a Second Language

  25. Hullo!! Layla and Z will be 8 and 3 this year.

    When Layla was about three I borrowed a book by art teacher Michele Cassou (Kids Play: Igniting Children’s Creativity). I’ve forgotten most of what I read, but she recommended asking these questions as well:

    Did you enjoy working on your painting (or drawing etc)?
    Can anything new appear on your painting?

    Following her advice to set up an art space at home, I bought a roll of plastic (the sort we use to wrap books) and put it up on the wall, and stuck blank drawing papers up so she could paint. I used tempera paints because it was what the author recommended–I forgot the reason why (not sure if it was because they were easy to paint with, or just easy to wash off).

    Hmmm… need to track that book down again! And thanks for holding this giveaway, I love The Art Book! I borrowed Drawing With Children but that was shortly before Z arrived so Layla only managed to draw Leo the Lion. :) Will take note of the other titles you’ve recommended too.

  26. Occasionally I try to do art with my girls (9 and 4 respectively) at home. It is the best activity to bond and stay away from television or IT gadget;). My favourite medium is water colour, it can be very open-ended and the littlest love it!
    pc´s last blog post ..May 2014: Holi Colour Fight!

  27. I wish I know how to do more art sessions at home with my four-year-old, but usually I just let him dabble with crayons and colour pencils. So boring right???

  28. Cynthia Lau says:

    I usually get my girl to draw things that she likes and asks her to colour it using colour pencils.
    Cynthia Lau