Are you a mother who really struggles to get your child to draw, color, and paint or get messy with play dough? Have you given up totally? Have you consoled yourself by saying “How exactly does it matter if my child is not good at art? He’s just not destined to grow up to be an artist. He will follow the mainstream profession and be just fine”.
Yes, I used to be that mother. At 3 years, my son would look away, every time I took out a coloring book. He showed no interest in holding a pencil and drawing anything beyond scribbling! I tried everything. I bought interesting and age appropriate activity books. I bought fancy, bright colored coloring books and I also tried very very basic coloring books. Different types of crayons which he refused to touch. He only enjoyed peeling the crayon wrapper which was very annoying. I tried to draw with him. At times I left him in the room with interesting art material lying around. I even tried putting him in a coloring class, just to arouse his interest. Do note that I am ANTI-classes and I try and encourage home-learning to tutor based learning.
The only thing he loved was join-the-dots and mazes. So I at least knew that his pincer grip was nothing to worry about.
But deep in my heart, I really wanted him to draw, to get messy. Creativity shapes up your personality. It is said that children who love to get messy grow up to learn to take risks and they feel less anxious in difficult situations. Being creative tickles their senses. Painting allows children to make decisions rapidly and work more independently. Of course art is one of the most effective ways to promote early childhood learning. I knew art is essential, it teaches critical thinking, self-expression, problem solving and self-esteem. I didn’t want him to miss an early start on this, mothers do everything in their capacity to protect their child, to make them future ready. But I did NOT want it to come at the cost of pushing him to learn art. I wanted it to be about play, I wanted it to be fun while learning and exploring.
So it was a life saver when I came across this interesting technique which totally flipped the situation. At 3 kids are around that age when they love to touch and get involved with day to day household things. It’s this curiosity on which I was to dwell.
So on the first day I collected some simple to draw objects like potato, orange and chillis. We took the case of potatoes and I let him talk to me about its color, texture, potato eyes, shape etc. He then pulled out a matching brown sketch pen and drew a giant oval potato on a sheet of loose paper. Gosh, he giggled so much while drawing the dozens eyes. How excited he was to have a real potato in one hand and his drawing in another. He then took a green sketch pen and drew a chilli that had gone crazy, since its ends didn’t meet each other.
Next day we collected some new household items, a pencil, a dish, a lemon and few blocks and the rest followed.
I made sure I let him explore the object at his own pace and talk about it. I ensured I praised his effort and creativity and stayed away from saying “You are so GOOD”.
Another day, together we also made our own playdough. I placed some atta and cooking oil in a bowl and mixed it gently so that the initial stickiness was gone. I let my son take charge and make that into a smooth mixture, he loved kneading it, rolling it, patting it into a chapatti. Next day we added some color, it was just tomato puree really. Totally hygienic and safe! Oh what fun it was to watch him hunt for his playdough cutters. And the extra fun he had making bubbles while rubbing and washing his tiny soiled hands all by himself in the washbasin. One day he made an “atta juice” by straining the atta through the chai-chhanni into a bowl of water.
Now isn’t that something creative he came up on his own. Won’t you call that creativity and critical thinking? Mothers try different hacks for you never know which one will work for her baby.
Share your story in the comments, what hacks have worked for you, how did you get those create juices flowing in your child? Maybe I could try one or two.
This article was first posted here