Get Creative! 3 Ways to Encourage the Reluctant Child Artist

Do you have a child who is reluctant to make art and get messy? Or one who gets easily frustrated while making art? I can relate and am sharing my tips I have learned along the way to help a reluctant child artist. 

I have found that the reluctant artist falls into one of the three categories. And here are my best tips on how to help!

The Child Who Doesn’t Like to Get Messy

For this child, things like colored pencils, washi tape, paint sticks in tubes and markers are your best bet for materials for this child. Things that minimize the mess are key. They don’t want things mushing on their hands or getting dirty. Model magic is great for sculpture, but be sure not to run it through the washing machine…because it will stain. (ask me how i know).

Making sticker paintings, with solid colored stickers or washi tape is a fun experiment. Using stick paint and washi tape is also another project, you can remove the tape from the substrate and it makes nice clean lines, which will be satisfying for the little artist. 

The Child Who Gets Frustrated 

Some children get frustrated when sitting down to create due to not being able to manipulate the materials as they would like. This could possibly be due to a fine motor delay.

Items like small crayons, chalk nubs, clay, model magic clay are all great items for children who struggle with fine motor skills. The small size will help with hand strength, grip development, and control. The less they have to grab the more control they will have. Clay, play dough, and model magic are great ways for them to get a whole hand work out. Also using scissors, if age appropriate, is a great way to help them develop those muscles. We like using scissors and old magazines to make collages! 

The Child Who Struggles with Confidence 

I am not good at drawing! Have you heard this? For a child who may struggle a bit with confidence, it can be helpful to not have an “end product or result” to compare to. Rather than drawing with them or showing them examples, let them get creative!

Try to show this child famous abstract artists and explain that not everything has to be drawn realistically. Explain that drawing is a skill and muscle memory that take time to develop. There are lots of online tutorials and books that go over the mechanics of drawing, that would be helpful for these types of artists.  

I hope these 3 tips help you and your kiddos get creative. I strongly believe all children are little artists and we just need to create an encouraging environment for that, sometimes that means having the right tools and experience for them.

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Julia Wells
Julia is a Jersey girl turned Okie! She graduated from MICA with a BFA. She moved to Oklahoma, her husband's home state, almost ten years ago. Seven years ago, her family moved to the country and bought a farm. She runs the day to day operations of the farm, The Humble Hive Homestead, where they raise poultry, pork and beef for the community. Julia also home schools their two boys. When not wrangling 2 and 4 legged critters, she enjoys quilting, reading, and creating custom art. She has a big garden, loves food preservation and cooking. She loves coffee with way too much cream and sugar.


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