One dilemma we face as parents who want to have well-rounded kids who aren’t afraid to express themselves is a mound of art that was a great experience at the time, but is not really something we want to look at every day. I appreciate that there is a place for learning the coordination of coloring within lines, but I just can’t bear framing a page from a Paw Patrol activity book. Lucky for us I found a few compromises. These works of art should be accessible to your average, everyday elementary aged artist, even those whose talent clearly lies in other areas. As a bonus, when each of these projects is completed you will be proud to hang it in a bedroom, heck, maybe even a living room.
Painter’s Tape Beauty
Go ahead and invest in a canvas for this one. Who says a toddler can’t make modern art? Grab your painter’s tape or masking tape and make a design with it that you consider to be as beautiful as an abstract angular image can be. When you have secured the tape so paint can’t ooze underneath, grab your full body paint protection (or take your child outside). Let them go to town expressing themselves, or just making a big floppy mess with their bodies, it’s all good. As long as they completely cover the canvas and don’t stab it through the heart, you are all good.
Puzzle Photo Frame
I’m sure you can think of a few people who would appreciate a framed picture of you, or your child, or your dog, for that matter. This project will earn you a home made picture frame you won’t mind putting on your wall, or your Christmas tree. You will have to cut out the backing. After you apply a layer of glue a child with the dexterity of one who can stuff goodness knows what in their mouths can accomplish the lion’s share of this craft. If you can find a puzzle with missing pieces that no one will use again (you know you have one) allow your child to put those pieces in any order into the glue on your frame. Once it is dried, if you can trust little vacuum-cleaner-mouth not to eat paint, they can paint your frame a solid color.
Artistic Leaf Rubbing
My kids love a good leaf rubbing. Rubbings can look nice on their own, but this one, executed well enough, can really be a work of art. First the kids need to do their leaf rubbing on a white sheet of paper with a white crayon. When you are done, cover the sheet gently with watercolors and the leaf rubbings should show through.
Faux Rainbow Bubbles
This project takes a little bit more skill than some of the others on this list, but not much. You will need to start out with a black paper or canvas. You will end with some sort and quality of bubble drawing. First, your child can trace circles of different sizes with white. Making the circle look shiny seems to be the hardest step, but if you study the technique a bit it should be doable. Then finish the drawing off with some rainbow highlights.
Amazing Marble on Paper
My kids have done this craft and it works. This was one of the projects in a messy art day I hosted for one of our homeschool groups. The kids needed to warm up to the idea that today, under these very specific circumstances, outdoors, messy was ok. Once that occurred they had a blast. You will be surprised how much shaving cream, coloring, and some paper can accomplish.
Birch on Canvas
If you truly want to be able to tell your child’s art immediately from the kids next to it, this may not be for you. I can understand the appeal of wanting every kid in a room to accomplish a technique that will look great, but will leave their art looking one crooked birch trunk difference form the next. After all, there are businesses establish for the sole purpose of allowing a dozen drunk adults to do the same thing. So grab the painters tape you conveniently forgot to put away from your toddler’s earlier project and get ready for you older child to knock your socks off with some amazing birch trees from tropical dot land.
Rocks With Flair
You know some of those rocks in your lawn that get spit out by the lawnmower would look better hurtling over the landscape if they were brightly painted. Aim low with some simple designs and swirls. Who knows, you may even end up decorating a path or a flower pot with these creations.
Bright Pony-Bead Sun catcher
Of all the things I have wanted to do to these doggone beads melting them had not come to mind until now. That would sure keep them from rolling all over the floor after craft time. A child of almost any age can arrange beads on tin foil. All you have to do is not burn them in your grill or oven.
Bookmarks You Will Use
We already know kids can color bookmarks, but have they ever made you any that you were happy to use? These two options look really nice and are simple to make. One of them slides duct tape over card stock. How hard can that be? The other turns random marker scribblings in to modern art.
Tin Relief Art
You will probably have more success doing this craft with a kid who is capable of at least scribbling stick figures. Have them make a simple sketch on cardboard, then make that sketch 3d with hot glue. Smooth tin foil over the whole shebang, and have them color inside the lines with marker. It looks shiny and colorful.
Child-made art that truly looks artistic does more than just make you proud to show it. Art can teach techniques and creativity. It can save the resources that would have been used in another crayon-on-paper session that ended in work no one really cared about. It can also save you the stress of having to jury you child’s art and sneak much of it into the garbage. Try some art that can give you and your child the satisfaction of a job well done.