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Old 03-01-2008, 11:36 PM
ncohen ncohen is offline
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How to teach art to kids under 8

I 'm trying to gain confidence in teaching adults (art techniques, drawing, basic important stuff). I want to target intermediate level art students. I've got (4) books on how to teach adults and older teens/adults, basic art concepts and techniques, using different mediums, etc.....I 've been taking continuing education classes in wonderful art schools in Manhattan for 12 years, and I'm finally making a transition from being a perpetual art student to becoming a dedicated art teacher..I'm developing my teaching skills, so I'm charging inroductory rates to adults....But my neighbor has a 8 year old daughter who is obsessed with making art with crayons (she even sleeps with them).
I impulsively offered to give her a few free art lessons to encourage her in her creativity, but, after thinking it over, I think I was wrong... When I was 8, my art education was just having fun making messy experiments with different mediums, and finding out what different mediums can do; paper mache, going to art museums, making joyful messes.... I honestly feel that at 8 years of age, the worst thing would be to give her 'formal, technical' art classes. Just let the kid be a kid and enjoy the process of making colored marks on paper. Let her just have fun and leave the serious part of art lessons (which are conceptual and require more developed fine motor co-ordination; for her teen years.).... But I've put my foot in my mouth,
and told her I'd give her a couple of art classes. ( For free, because she's a neighbor, and she's a gutsy kid, with lots of siblings and could use a creative outlet.)...Thanks for reading my rambling post, and I appreciate any advice on how I can handle this situation with grace and generosity.
Have a wonderful week ncohen

Last edited by ncohen : 03-01-2008 at 11:44 PM. Reason: Improve clarity of post
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Old 03-03-2008, 10:32 AM
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art4me art4me is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

I teach art to elementary kids. Every year I try to impart some sort of art theory, using materials 'properly' and at this time of the year kids are asking for easy, no brainer craft types of things. I brought in a couple of books with ideas and let them mark which ones interest them. That is one way of hooking them!
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Old 03-12-2008, 10:23 AM
olimpiag olimpiag is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

I have a six year old student and it's tough to get them to focus at that age.I encourage a lot of experimenting with color.I use watercolors and we do wet on wet paintings. I choose animal themes which she enjoys. Also, contour line drawing with a fine tipped black marker is a good way to get them to look simple at shapes and how they relate to each other without the details that are distracting.Good luck
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Old 03-23-2008, 12:35 PM
Krysia Krysia is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

Re art for children of all ages. go to the local high school whre there are classes in carpentry and collect all the bits and pieces of wood left over that they all throw out along with coloured stones buttons stones and empty the boxes in the middle of the classroom and let the students create masks/ eyes, ears, mouths, teeth, noses, hair necks even bodies. you the teacher only will use a hot glue gun to attach the pieces as the students line up in front of you to glue up their masterpieces. If time permits use tempera paints to paint up the masks. adults love this too.... Krysia
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Old 03-23-2008, 12:39 PM
Krysia Krysia is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

Re Masks and to further justify the curriculum.... perhaps the students might make up stories regarding their masks and present these to the class... art... literature.... perhaps drumming as well.... and because it is a wood project the boys really, really love ths project as do the girls....perhaps some kitchen cabinet maker in the neighbourhood will give you bits and pieces as well... and go the home depot and buy the cedar shingles... they provide great bases for faces and often contain ready made eyes and noses etc..... Krysia
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:43 PM
M-squared M-squared is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

If you really want to enhance the child's skill level, teach them how to observe and draw from looking and examining their subject with a keen eye. This is the basis of all good art...if you know reality, you can do anything with it and beyond it.

Google Marvin Bartel, and then follow the links to his "Art Lessons for Children" pages....
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:45 PM
M-squared M-squared is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

The "serious" stuff should be learned young...these are skills that any child can pick up and have fun doing.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:20 AM
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Sheary Sheary is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

My experience with the young artist is to allow them to play with the various media and talk about 'seeing' things to draw. Eventually they are flustrated in not being able to get it to look like they want it to look. That's when I start with directed drawing of objects and animals, talking them through the process of seeing the parts and what lines to use. Once the object is to their satisfaction they can use their imagination to finish. Then, after doing that a few times, they can draw with the skills of seeing and being able to know how to draw.
When I first started with working with primary students I read Mona Brooks "Drawing with Childern" and that was the best method I have come accross so far.
Celebrating Creativity in the High Desert

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Old 04-22-2009, 11:33 PM
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saralindsey saralindsey is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

I will agree with the Mona Brooks book, it gives you a wide range of levels to individualize programs, and step-by-step formal drawing techniques i.e. where to start, what is the next step. I plan on using the examples and creating my own in my art program, but my students love freedom in art when work on understanding the elements and principles and how they play a part in artwork and make each one unique. There is a second book for older teens that I am order on half.com to help with my slightly older students and then Betty Edwards "drawing on the right side of the brain" has a workbook for her book, which truthfully helps improve realistic drawing and explains things that most artist naturally discover and others don't.
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Old 04-26-2009, 02:51 AM
AthenaEowyn AthenaEowyn is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

Don't know if it's too late to give an opinion on this question, but here's mine:

I think you can give "formal lessons" to an 8 year old without restricting her creativity or making it too serious. Your motive in offering the lessons was to encourage her creativity, and you can totally do that!

First, sometimes the best thing you can do to encourage a kid is to sit with them while they color away. You can engage them in conversation about what they're doing and listen to their explanations and descriptions. One kid I work with (he's 11) gets so animated by his drawing or writing project that he gets up and starts acting it out with great relish. I can tell he really appreciates my sitting there listening, smiling, and making comments. I've also noticed that kids younger than 8 or 9 appreciate this even more than older kids tend to. Since the little girl in question has a lot of siblings, I think the individual attention of a creative-minded adult could be just the thing she'd love. You just need to be a good listener and not guide her too much (something I constantly have to remind myself).

Second, perhaps you could foster her creativity by offering projects. Sometimes kids have tons of energy and ideas but never end up with a finished project they can show off. If you ask her to show you some of her favorite drawings (and maybe her favorite books and movies too), you could come up with ways to extend her work into a lengthier, meatier project. Maybe you could encourage her to create an illustrated storybook; maybe she'd like to do a diorama; maybe you could help her create a large painting inspired by several small drawings; maybe you could show her some collaging techniques. There's so much you can do!
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:27 AM
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Cheena K Cheena K is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

This is an interesting thread and I guess a lot of parents should take the tips from it

Even though it is a very old thread, I couldn't resist writing in...

It's been over a year that I have been collecting art by kids from all over the globe on my website, there are some very talented artists out there...Mostly I have noticed that kids who simply draw from their imagination and observation seem to come up with really creative drawings and mostly the stories that they tell are quite original too.

Do stop by:

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Old 08-01-2012, 12:39 PM
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Gardavkra Gardavkra is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

I couldn't resist responding to this post either.

In my experience, it depends on the student. Most of the younger students that I've had end up taking private art classes because, they weren't challenged enough in school and were bored. I had one seven year old that said he didn't want to cut and paste paper, he wanted to learn how to draw and paint. He was a good student and he had a passion. Luckily, his parents recognized that.

It also depends on who wants to take the art lessons. Is it the students idea or their parents? If it's the parents, it usually doesn't work out. The student doesn't really want to be there and they'll let you know it.
You can't put art in a box.
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:10 AM
Daisygirl Daisygirl is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

I have worked with as young as 5 year old who are pretty amazing artists. THe first thing I introduce them to is quality materials. If the student loves crayons I would use oil pastels and they also really love the water soluble ones. I use my artist grade watercolors and papers. I show them how to blot their brush, wait for the right time to sprinkle salt , tape down their paper etc. We do "stand backs" to "critique" and always cut the paper so it will fit in a standard size mat so the art leave ready for their personal gallery. I also encourage the parents to frame the work and start the gallery wall in the main part of the home. In other words I treat them like a real artist... because they are.
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:56 AM
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Bathsheba Bathsheba is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

When I was a teachers' assistant I witnessed some very good and some very poor art teaching and now that I am training to be an art teacher myself I feel I have quite a clear idea of what is "better" practice.

Firstly I recommend talking to the child and finding out what really really interests them (for theme). Then talk a bit more to find out how they like to use their body; do they prefer fine or gross motor skills (detailed mark making or broader, even sculptural creating). Secondly, do not make art yourself infront of them this often discourages them and interferes with their vision. Instead practise pure technique eg if you are using clay practise rolling coils, making joins, kneading out air pockets.

Never touch their work. Try to ask the right question instead of providing solutions. Use music and other stimuli to add another dimension to their creative process.

Do not give them hang-ups about being neat and tidy but remind them to be respectful of their space and materials; a fine line I know.

Avoid saying "good boy or good girl" instead make positive comments about specific details that you like about their work or at the very least say "I really liked how you focussed hard on looking closely at what you were trying t draw".

When they are finished ask questions and document what they say like you are interviewing them... they love that!
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:13 PM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: How to teach art to kids under 8

Well, I will turn 75 in a couple of days, but even I can remember back to when I was 7 or 8 years old, and as I recall, the last thing I wanted was someone to "turn me loose, floundering around attempting to do what I wanted". What I "wanted" was for a good artist to show me exactly how they did it.

When I was that age, I was always asking my dad, who was a really good sketch-artist, and cartooner...an amateur, but good, to "please show me how to do" specific things. Like, how did he draw a hat on top of a head. how did he draw clothing. How did he draw a hand, etc., etc.

I remember simply wanting to know precisely how a person who was "good at drawing" drew. I would not in any way "settle" for being cut loose to "explore my creativity. To me, a kid, that was much too lofty an ideal.

But, then , I'm an artist now, and that's what inquisitive artists do when they are 7 or 8 years old, I suppose. I wanted a bit of "guidance" in the form of generalizations, but I also wanted (craved) specifics regarding particular "operations" that would get me closer to where I wanted to be with my results.

I think the only real difference between a kid, and an adult regarding art learning, is that kids are much more "results oriented". Granted, some adults are, but they can be talked out of having such anxiety, and convinced that it takes time to create good art. Kids are not quite so patient. But, both kids and adults seem to appreciate being shown exactly how to go about performing art operations, rather than being allowed to "experiment" on their own.

I know that when I was a kid I always picked up on the "specific operations" whenever any art teacher bothered to show them to me, because that is what I really craved. Even as a kid, I figured that I could always have the opportunity to "experiment on my own", once I learned some specifics.

Just my feelings.
wfmartin. My Blog "Creative Realism"... http://www.wfmartin.com

Last edited by WFMartin : 10-02-2012 at 08:25 PM.

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