Now that the weather’s cooling off in Albuquerque, you may be looking for indoor activities for your kids. Why not try drawing?
“But I don’t know how to draw!” you may protest. Believe me, I get it.
Art was the class I was most worried about failing in high school.
Yes, that’s right. Not math or history or anything with exams, but art. If you could see my handwriting, you would know why I worried.
Once I had kids, I rediscovered the world of drawing, and with surprisingly fun (and painless) results.
Give kids a stack of paper and a box of crayons, and there’s a good chance they’ll be happy campers.
Want to amaze your kids and maybe even get a thank you? Every now and then, get special crayons, colored pencils, or markers (e.g. ones with multiple colors or metallic finishes). Those and drawing pads make great holiday gifts or entertainment for sick kids.
Want to draw outside? Try some of the glitter or marbled chalks. My youngest loves them.
Providing drawing supplies is a good start, but sometimes kids ask you how to draw something like a triceratops, and they won’t accept your lack of artistic skill as an answer. Fear not! There are books that can help you and your kids.
The first book I read about kids and drawing was Mona Brookes’ Drawing with Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too. She suggests that you teach children to look at objects as combinations of simple lines and shapes. This is genius, and may be all your kids ever need.
When a child asked me how to draw, say, a stegosaurus, I could get them started with an oval for the body and rectangles for the legs.
Your child may want to learn more specific directions for particular animals. My youngest loves How to Draw Dinosaurs, by Barbara Soloff Levy. His dinosaurs look more lifelike since he started using the book.
If your child likes the Elephant and Piggie books, Mo Willems has a great activity book called We Are in an ART-ivity Book. As a bonus, there are all sorts of projects and examples of work by famous artists.
If you want to go one step farther, you can try drawing classes for your kids. They can be inexpensive or even free. Check out art and craft classes at:
- Your branch of the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Public Library
- The City of Albuquerque Community Centers.
- And, of course, kids’ drawing videos online.
Be sure to watch videos before your kids do, to make sure they’re age-appropriate.
Containing the Mess
Choose the location carefully. Ideally, use somewhere with a floor that’s easy to clean.
Choose washable markers. Even if you do, put your kids in clothes you don’t mind having a few stains.
Move any stainable fabrics. I raise the shades when my kids paint, to reduce the chance they’ll become polka-dot shades.
Cover your work surface. My best aide for containing messes–a plastic, felt-backed tablecloth. Even my youngest knows that for markers, the plastic tablecloth needs to go on the table.
Drawing for Parents
You may find that you enjoy drawing more than you expected to. If drawing sounds like work instead of fun, you can try coloring with your kids while listening to an audiobook. You can use one of the coloring books designed for grown-ups or just play with colors.
If you decide you enjoy drawing and would like a few pointers, try Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling. I haven’t finished the book yet, and already I’m paying more attention to what I see in nature when I’m trying to draw it.
Happy drawing, everyone!