Let's talk first about some barriers parents put up that stifle their kids creatively. A common complaint from my students is that their parents won't let them do anything messy. One can rarely be creative without being messy. So get a couple of vinyl table cloths. Throw one on the kitchen table and one on the floor and loosen up. Or better yet, when the weather allows, work outside. Come on parents, loosen up. Those kids are washable.
Another complication that parents often put on their children artistically is to expect the results to look like something straight out of a gift shop. They are kids. Their focus isn't that of an adult. Their fine motor skills aren't that of an adult. And their perspective isn't the same as an adult. So, let them be kids. Let them be artists. And see what wonderful creations they come up with.
WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T FIX THEIR WORK. It won't be perfect. Thats ok. What you want to communicate to them is that it is fun to make art and what they make is delightful. Don't critique every line they draw or every color they choose. It is ok to make a few small corrections if they are said with a positive attitude and prefaced with a positive comment.. Something like this, "I love the bright colors you are choosing. Perhaps this line should be a bit shorter."
Display their work. You, as their parents, are the single most important factor influencing their sense of creativity for years to come. Of course, there is the classic home gallery, the refrigerator. Also they will love turning their rooms into their own personal art gallery. Let your kids use their art as gifts for grandparents, teachers, or even friends. Just think how affirming it is to them to believe that their artistic work is valuable enough to be a gift. Take a few of your favorite pieces and frame them. Yes, even hang them in your livingroom.
In the next week I will talk with you more about how to help your kids grow up to be creative people. Also I will give you some tutorials for inexpensive projects you can do with them.
I've included some examples done by some of my students ages 6, 11, and 12 respectively.