Speaking to Your Young Artist: Looking at Their Art and Famous Works:

When children say, "Look what I made!" show your interest. Encourage them to describe how they created their art. Children are eager to show adults their creations. How can you respond so they are motivated to explore the arts further?

  • Remember to reflect their enthusiasm. TRY TO AVOID: “What did you make? What is it?” This is very discouraging when they are trying to create something using realism. Instead ask them, “Tell me about your Art!”
  • Take their work seriously!
  • Encourage children to be confident about their art.
  • Inspire them to improve their skills with practice.
  • Encourage them to try new ideas and different approaches.
  • Their imaginations will soar. Positive, encouraging responses will help artists of all ages feel they are creative thinkers and capable doers. Usually just one positive comment or open-ended question will open up a fascinating conversation!

Here are some great "discussion starters" that will encourage children to open up. Try some of these statements and questions and get that conversation going!

  • Show appreciation: "Thank you for showing me your creation." "I'm so glad you want to share your art with me."
  • Demonstrate genuine enthusiasm: "What an imaginative idea!" "You're starting to use colored pencils in a different way than before!"
  • Describe what you see (artistic qualities): "It looks like you used lots of red here, and a little blue in the bottom corner." "The lines you drew move all around the page." "This reminds me of (another artist's style or a child's earlier work)." Especially with young children, avoid asking "What is it?" Their creation may be an experiment in pattern or color, and not a picture of the family dog!
  • Ask how the child achieved an artistic effect: "I'm wondering how you got these little pieces of clay to stick out like that." "Please explain to me your steps."
  • Dig a little deeper: "Tell me more about what you've done." "I'm curious how you got this idea."
  • Comment on how the child worked: "I saw you concentrating on your painting." "You had a smile on your face the whole time you were drawing!"
  • Sometimes, suggest extensions (after showing support and hearing the child's explanations): "I wonder what would happen if you tried..."
    An encouraging adult can make a world of difference. Support your children's innate desire to learn and to express ideas. Be a mentor and a role model!!

Art IS all around us! Ask kids how design affects the:

  • homes we live in
  • cars we drive
  • clothes we wear
  • books we read
  • movies we watch...

...and our appreciation for the awesome natural beauty found everywhere!
Introduce art vocabulary to children. Look for lines, shapes/forms, colors, textures, patterns, repetition, and balance. Share opinions and what personal preferences are based on. Urge children to consider ways they could change the design of man-made items. Look for lessons from nature that could improve human designed items. Talk with children about art. The art they are creating and the art all around them. Notice the way art is used in everyday life!