Children love to draw and paint. If you are looking for things to do with grandkids, they enjoy coloring pictures of their favorite superheroes and creating illustrations of their favorite animals. That’s good news for we grandparents who want to instill a love for the arts in our grandchildren.
Arts and crafts for grandchildren include far more than just drawing and painting. They include all kinds of music and music appreciation. They include drama and dramatic play. They include creative hobbies such as photography, cooking, flower arranging and more. In short, anytime we create something new or stop to appreciate the creative work of others, we’ve done art.
There are additional benefits to children when they engage in creative processes. They learn fine motor skills, increase language skills by adding lots of new vocabulary; they grow in spatial awareness and in decision making. Each time they choose a new color or add a line to a drawing they’re making decisions that lead to a finished product.
Children also build up the connections in their right brain—something that is very important today when our classrooms focus mostly on left brain learning in math, science and reading skills.
Engaging in art projects, dramatic plays, or performing in musical productions also encourages collaborative efforts and builds confidence in young learners. They learn to see multiple answers to problems and learn to work hard for a common goal.
Here are four good ways to expose your grandchildren to the arts:
Visit Children’s Museums with the grandkids
These fantastic learning museums, designed especially for hands-on learning, always incorporate opportunities for creative expression in their displays. Children may sing a song on a miniature stage, role play being a doctor or a baker, create a beautiful object out of clay or join in a group playing rhythm instruments.
The beauty of playing creatively without the “don’t touch” rule is very freeing for children and helps them to build interest in certain artistic endeavors. They may begin to develop a special interest in sculpture, painting, drama or music.
Most large cities have excellent children’s museums with rotating exhibits and activities.
Attend Local Musical Events with the grandkids
There is music everywhere. There are people playing their guitars or violins at street fairs and farmer’s markets. There are high school and community college orchestras and choirs. There are musical productions at any institution of higher learning. There are city orchestras, bands and choirs. There are sing-along events and music festivals.
Keep an eye out for musical events that are age-appropriate for your grandchildren. Have them choose their favorite instruments and the reasons they enjoy them. Introduce them to a variety of musical genres from folk, to classical. From 50’s rock and roll to celtic maritime songs.
Offer Arts and Crafts Projects to your grandchildren
You can be known as the grandma or grandpa who always has an art project up their sleeve. Keep art supplies on hand or cruise the local craft stores before a grandkid visit. Choose projects that teach something new—the color wheel, how to work with real clay, simple woodworking projects, sewing, puppet-making, the list is endless.
When possible offer a chance to extend an art experience. Find a place to display the finished products, write out a simple skit to use the newly-made puppets, make some rhythm instruments and then plan a performance for the family. The arts offer children a way to shine that they may not experience elsewhere.
Use some of the excellent online sites to spur your grandkids’ interest in the arts. There are museum websites, crafty blogsites and websites specially designed to encourage children’s interest in fine art, music and drama.
Many of these websites offer games and other interactive fun to keep children coming back for more lessons.
Here are some of the best websites for introducing your grandchildren to the arts:
Pintura: Art Detective: A website for budding detectives to determine who painted a masterpiece.
Haring Kids Learn How to Draw: This is a fantastic interactive site with more than 200 art lesson plans plus some fun drawing and coloring activities.
Color Matters: This site is for adults and children and has a wealth of information about the science of color, marketing using color and much more.
Art Express: A website designed with art lessons for children in first through fifth grades.
Metropolitan Museum of Art—Explore and Learn This site guides offers information about current exhibits in the museum, but also helps children explore various artists, but also has fun activities like Met Kids where children can move about the world via maps and experience the art of the area.