How do we keep our kids inspired and motivated to draw?
Last week I received a tremendous number of responses from readers about my blog post “Why is Drawing Important for Children’s Development”.
Several parents asked the question, “How do we keep our children inspired and engaged in art-making?”, especially as they start rigorous academic lives?
I have a great idea! Let’s do a project charting the development of our kids’ art—let’s call it “The Story of Our Children’s Art“!
I did mine as a video (scroll down to see it!) but I encourage parents to make a similar collection in whatever form is available and easy for you—it may not be a video, it could be a slide presentation or even a scrapbook.
The project is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, a philosophy and pedagogy for preschool and primary education that prioritises experiential learning, exploration and discovery:
Making Learning Visible
Italian early childhood education system based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy encourages the documentation of children’s work so that both adults and children can pay attention and can literally see growth. What documentation means is basically keeping a record of children’s PROCESS and THINKING and in order to “make learning visible.” Documentation provides the opportunity for inspiration, motivation, reflection, and in my case, bonding between adult and child, because the child knows that the adult is paying close attention to her thinking.
Here’s the video I made of our daughter’s art journey!
(Our daughter’s nickname is Yakuza Baby—or YB for short– because she was born while Colin and I were watching a Japanese gangster film.)
These are the steps I took to document Yakuza Baby’s artwork over the years:
(Note that these were done whenever possible, and I had to be selective about which pieces to include, because… who has the energy?)
Art Collection and Documentation
- Scribbled the dates when the work was completed on the back (because she starting signing and dating her work).
- Asked her what her work was about and quickly scribbled her words under the date on the back.
- Slotted artwork into folders around the home with the year written. When a folder was full, I put it into a box.
Assembling the Video
- Rough assembly of the artwork in chronological order.
- Checked with YB if the sequence is right.
- Interviewed and chatted with her about what she remembers about her thinking at each point, and what she remembers influenced her.
- Interviewed YB for what she would say to other kids and parents about drawing.
[Note: checking back with the artist is really important because this is the artist’s story and not ours.]
5. Assemble the video! You can also assemble everything as a slide presentation and output to video!
This past week was YB’s birthday and this was a wonderful collaborative project to make to celebrate her growth … this was definitely much harder than just buying her the latest toy! It’s something you might consider for your child’s next birthday!
Please tag me at @dimsumwarriors if you make a video project of your children’s art – in any language. I would very much love to see it and it would encourage all our young artists as well!
JOIN OUR DOODLE DATES!
My husband Colin and I host the free Dim Sum Warriors Bilingual Doodle Date twice a month to encourage language-learning (Chinese and English) through comics and drawing. Join us!
The Dim Sum Warriors Bilingual Doodle Dates are FREE 20-minute draw-along and language-learning sessions held on our private Facebook Group, where kids will be immersed naturally in a bilingual (Chinese and English) creative environment.
If you want to join this FREE session on 2 Saturdays a month, sign up here: