Jessica Harms holds an MFA from the University of Georgia, Athens, and now teaches Visual Arts Education at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic School, Atlanta. We spoke with her about some great ways to craft with kids, and she gave us some tips for getting the most out of your art time. 

Jessica Harms
Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic School
1320 Hearst Drive N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30319
(404) 364-1902
www.olaschool.org

Tip 1: Watercolor and Crayon Is Your Best Friend

“Your kids want to paint inside on a rainy day, but you don’t want to ruin your home. Watercolors and oil-based drawing tools, such as crayons or pastels, are great for creating beautiful artwork that is very inexpensive and easy to clean up afterwards. It’s my go-to for creating artwork with any age. I recommend condensed liquid watercolor for brilliant colors; they can be found at any craft supply store. Just grab a crayon or oil pastel, draw basic outlines on watercolor paper and let the watercolors overlap, swirl and mix to create beautiful effects, When the colors mix, it’s a great chance to talk color theory with your kids and, since oil and water don’t mix, the drawing lines are easily visible. Once dry, dollar store frames are perfect if you want to create a display wall in your home. Also try sprinkling salt on wet watercolor for cool effects.”

Tip 2: Those ‘How To Draw’ Books Are A Lifesaver

“Whether you are at the kitchen table, in the car or on vacation, kids absolutely love to learn how to draw new things. The step-by-step instructions on how to draw animals, cars and even cartoon characters helps build spacial awareness and confidence when learning basic drawing skills. Just search online for a how-to-draw book that sparks their interest and don’t forget a sketchbook. I have found that when kids have their own ‘drawing journal,’ they can get lost for hours practicing. The ‘Do You Doodle?’ series of books is also great for developing drawing skills and is wonderful for expanding your child’s imagination.” 

Tip 3: Turn Old Toys and Knick Knacks Into Sculpture

“Some of the coolest projects we’ve done over the years have been when we converted unwanted, small items from home into assemblage collages and sculptures. Whether it is small plastic toys, nuts and bolts, unwanted electronic pieces, or mosaic tiles, your children can use Elmer’s glue on canvas or cardboard to create abstract, interesting pieces of art. Sort the pieces into color schemes and glue, or use spray paint (silver or gold is my favorite) to create mixed-media artworks that look like mini-replicas of Louise Nevelson’s sculptures. Speaking of toys…”

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Tip 4: Lego Anything Is Always A Winner

“Legos might be seen just as a building material, but if you are creative, they have the ability to transform into new, exciting ways to create art. I have never met a child who doesn’t love Legos, and over the years, we have used them in many ways to teach about fine art and architecture. We have dipped Legos in paint for printmaking, drawn self-portraits as Lego characters and even built cities when discussing urban planning. The possibilities are endless! Check out the work of Nathan Sawaya for inspiration and discuss with your kids how he transforms the Legos to create art.” 

Tip 5: Grab Some Paint Chips From The Home Improvement Store

“Want a FREE, easy material to create art with your kids? Check out the paint aisle at your local home improvement store and grab as many paint chip samples as you can in an array of colors and shapes. They are super easy to cut, glue and overlap to create artwork. Show your kids examples of paint chip art online or on YouTube for inspiration. If your child is old enough for hot glue, they can bend, cut and crease the paint chips to create three-dimensional sculptures.”

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Katy Light is an avid home cook. She loves nothing more than using home grown and harvested produce, milk from her own goats and naturally raised meat in her recipes. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.