Friday, October 16, 2009

Bonding With Your Child Through Art

Since the weather outside has been so frightful, once again this week my four-year old and I defaulted to one of MY favorite things to do.... art. While that sounds pretty selfish on my part, I will say it is a wonderful way to bond with your child. I mean how many meaningful conversations can you have while chasing your child around Chuck-E-Cheese (no offense Chuck, we LOVE you). And usually when we are at home, I’m so distracted by all the chores that I’m tempted to turn on the TV, or try to multitask by playing Barbies between folding towels.
So today we decided to trace our simple and mess free! All you need is some white paper, a black marker and a large assortment of Crayola Crayons (I love the box of 96). We added in some safety scissors because Lucy is obsessed with cutting right now, so I figure it's a good skill to work on. Please note that adding the scissors cancels out the "mess free" guarantee.

First I traced both our hands with a sharpie, and then it's no rules and all imagination as we decorate them. I was feeling kind of spooky so I announced I was going to do a witch hand with warts and all, to which my daughter replies, "I’m going to make mine pretty because I’m pretty." She wasn't that impressed with my first hand and begged me to do a "pretty one" too. So, of course, I did. Jewelry and fingernail polish are much better girlie conversation topics than warts and blood.
As we colored together, we had some great discussions. We talked about our favorite colors; hers is hot pink and mine is turquoise blue. I did a little story telling about the good and bad witches in the Wizard of Oz. We discussed how God made her so special, and there’s no one just like her on the whole planet. Then the questions started; "Why do some people want to be mean?", " Will my hand be big like yours someday?", " Mom, why did you want to make your first hand look dirty?", "Do you think my hand is prettier, or yours is prettier?" It’s in these moments that I love being a mom and my day seems worthwhile. And the best part is, when we are finished, we can hang up our art so we can remember that time together.

*Sleepyhead tip: When you do "bonding art" with your child focus on the bonding process, not the project or outcome of the art. Let the conversation flow and just have fun just using your imagination. You can talk about the colors they like and don't like, the shapes they create, the ideas they come up with. Let them make their own decisions on their designs, and encourage them in their efforts and enjoyment of creating.

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