Summer is a great time to create and explore the world of art with your kids. It may seem messy and daunting, but by keeping it simple and well planned out, even the littlest hands can create beautiful pieces of work.
Believe it or not, there’s much to be found right here at home as Long Island is rich in opportunities for children to explore art; so open your eyes, jump right in…and let them get a little messy!
For babies and toddlers who are still sticking everything in their mouth, try a homemade, edible paint. A simple two-ingredient paint recipe made from sweetened condensed milk and food coloring makes for a thick paint which dries glossy. For a dairy-free recipe, cornstarch and water make a baby-friendly paint, as well. Vanilla pudding, vanilla yogurt, and whipped topping can also be colored with food dye, for completely edible and safe paint options; perfect for little hands in high-chairs!
For older children, non-toxic paint can be found at local art supply stores, such as Riebe’s Artist Materials in Melville, or Blick Art Materials in Carle Place. You may also want to pick up some brushes with large handles, and a palette for paints. Handling a paintbrush is wonderful for learning dexterity, and gives young children the feeling of control. Let the children pick the colors they wish to create with; try some texture tools to teach patterns and design.
If the idea of creating a mess at home is daunting, there are a plethora of art classes available for children of all ages. Not Just Art in Oyster Bay and Plainview, offers parent-and-child art classes beginning at 20 months old, and continuing through middle school. With a combination of music and art, it is a wonderful introduction to creative thinking for babies and children. Cool Crafts Long Island in Wantagh has plaster craft painting summer courses, including snack-time, dancing, and game playing. Art classes are a fantastic opportunity for children to interact with their peers on a creative level, think outside-the-box, and get messy at the same time!
To explore art within an art-setting, children are happily welcomed at Huntington’s Heckscher Museum of Art. The museum has a create your own art station in the front gallery. Keep walking through the museum and you’ll find “select works of art in the Museum feature wall labels with kid-friendly content designed to actively engage young visitors. Each label features Huey, the Museum’s children’s mascot, and challenges children and their accompanying parent/guardian to think critically and carefully as they look, read, and learn together,” there are also special events for families (ages 4-8) on Sundays to explore the current exhibits, as well as events for kids when on vacation from school (ages 7-12).
Be sure to share your kid’s “work of art” with us via Facebook at Long Island Mamas Network OR on Twitter @L_I_Mamas!
By: Olivia Howell
Photo Credit: Wikipedia.com, Flickr.com, Heckscher Museum of Art