Freedom is one of the most important gifts you can give your child to encourage creativity. I have already spoken about allowing them to create without being hindered by your expectations. One way you can encourage freedom is by making them an art box. This is something they can get into whenever they choose and do what ever project they want. When my daughter was 5 I fixed a little child-sized table for her by my worktable. She had a box full of supplies to choose whatever she might be inspired by that day. She would work for long periods along side me. And rather than feeling neglected by my work time, she felt we were partners in that time. Her box was filled mostly with supplies I decided I did not need. She had scraps of pretty papers, old buttons, wooden shapes, old greeting cards, tiny papier mache boxes, and more. Then of course, there was the standard pencils, markers, glue sticks, and of course glitter. Yes, you heard me. I said glitter. I know it makes a mess. That's ok. You will live. That's why you have a vacuum sweeper. But we did save paint for more supervised times. But even that changed when she was older.
The last item I want to emphasis is to give your child quality supplies. I don't mean that you should buy professional supplies for children. But you should provide them with supplies that will help them find success. Those paint brushes with stiff nylon bristles that come with children's paint are horrible and pretty impossible for accomplishing anything except stirring glue. Or you could use the end of the handle for creating dots. The buttons that my daughter used were from my stash of vintage buttons. But I gave her the ones I knew I would never use. Shop at garage sales or thrift stores or the bargain bins at craft stores. This doesn't have to be an expensive thing. Learn to recycle. For instance, those wavy cardboard bands that come on tea and coffee -- way cool paper! Cut it into shapes, paint, and glue away. You can get outdated books of wallpaper for free from your paintstore. When I teach children's classes we use Prang colored pencils. They are by far not the quality of Prismacolor. But they will blend a bit and cover pretty well. Most other children's colored pencils are more of a frustration to the budding artist.
Here is a picture of a collage created by one of my students. In this project as a class we first drew the elephants - freehand. Then the kids took various papers of their choice and created an environment for their elephant. They had the freedom to place their elephant anywhere they wanted - a jungle, sitting on their couch, eating at the table, playing in the swimming pool. My only rule for animal art is that they can not put them in a cage or on a chain. The artist that created this piece is 8 years old. I especially like her Weeping Willow tree.
Here are a few more ideas for you before I end this series.
*Let your kids make the card before they go to a birthday party.
*Or they could make a calender for grandparents. They can draw a picture for each month of the year and you can print them with the calender pages.
* They will really feel special if you take one of their drawings and use the special printer paper, make an iron on for their tshirt of their own art.
Please do not copy or download this student's art. It is her art and not mine to let you copy. Thank you for respecting that.