Offering Children’s Art Back to Them

Extending Art with Kids - An Everyday Story

Extending Art with Kids - An Everyday StoryKids can be prolific little artists, can’t they? Sarah (4 years) can easily paint a dozen paintings in a single session. Her paintings soon pile up and I started thinking… what do we do with all this art? Is each piece finished after just one session? And how connected is she to her art?

I was watching Sarah paint one day and noticed that she was focussed and engaged while she was painting but then once the paper was full, she would unclip it from her clipboard and move on to the next piece of paper.

But what if I offered her paintings back to her the next day? What would she do?

Extending Art with Kids - An Everyday Story Extending Art with Kids - An Everyday StorySo, I’ve started offering her paintings back to her along with some other art materials to encourage her to think more about each piece. Today I offered back some acrylic paintings that Sarah did yesterday along with glue, cellophane, scissors and permanent markers.

Simple Art Explorations for Kids - An Everyday Story Extending Art with Kids - An Everyday StorySarah is definitely more connected to her art work now; she seems to remember a little of what she was feeling when she first painted the piece. Each new addition is quite intentional. Each artwork is unique. She is even starting to choose her own art materials and techniques to add to her work – today she painted patterns on a piece of cellophane and used that as a stamp.

We have a tray now in our art cart for paintings or drawings that are works-in-progress. What used to be an idea of paint…next…paint…move on has now become a much more intentional approach. That first painting is only the beginning.

Did your children create something today? Offer it back to them tomorrow with some different art materials and see what they do.

8 Replies to “Offering Children’s Art Back to Them”

  1. Julie Green says:

    This is incredible. I’m going to do this today.

  2. I love the idea of colored cellophane and permanent markers as a next layer–partly because it’s an intriguing mix of materials, and partly because it’s removable–she can try it out before permanently changing a painting she was happy with. Thanks for the great suggestion. I’ll be trying this out tomorrow with today’s paintings.

  3. lydia purple says:

    yes, i used to do this. need to go back to it… my daughter also loves to add magazine clippings, stamps, oil pastels, feathers, flowers to a painting.

    a dedicated place for works in progress is a great idea. i need to find a spot.

    1. lydia purple says:

      oh and glitter. we love to add some spark to finish our work!

  4. C. Gresham says:

    Such a grand idea! I teach 3 yr. olds. and I too, notice that there is not much attachment to their art once it is painted. They do love to blend the colors though!

  5. Hummm- We are running a 3 day a week summer preschool program- 1= water colours, 2= markers/bingo stampers, 3= collage materials, glitter and glue. Cant wait !

  6. I really like this idea a lot. I have been reflecting on the past school year and how I could have guided the children to expand more in art without ” telling them ” how -to ( using Process Art )and this is something I will definitely be putting into practice for the new school year.

  7. I am going to try this.

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