Even with an adventurous outdoor spirit, February sees most of us inside quite a bit, and in close quarters. Finding indoor activities that can suit three boys who are 7, 5, and 2 is, to be plain, a challenge. Today, for example, we planted microgreens. The older boys got the idea; my little guy wanted to swim around in the dirt in the dining room and see how it looked on the walls (of course he did). But there’s only so much of this that even a hard-headed mother can take.
So in the season of spending lots of time together indoors, one thing that we’ve been increasingly turning to is good old drawing and crafting. Personally I like a goal for these sessions, like making Valentines, because drawing doesn’t come naturally to me and I sometimes need structure getting started. But as we sit at the table more often, I really am seeing that it isn’t so complicated. The truth is that the thing that gets the kids most interested in drawing and crafting is for me to do it too. And since they’re possibly the only people who will sing the praises of my stick figures, I’ve been trying.
Simply drawing (and cutting and gluing and colouring) is perfect fun and a solid go-to around here, but if you’re on the hunt for some visual inspiration, there are some amazing resources out there. Here are a few of my favourites:
The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity by Jean Van’t Hul is full of easy and accessible art activities for young children, and offers her gentle guidance and philosophy around fostering creativity and making art at home. And if you don’t already know it, her blog is teeming with artsy fun ideas.
Jenny Doh’s Hand in Hand: Crafting with Kids offers a collection of favourite craft projects by a group of talented bloggers. They sometimes require some forethought to ensure you’ve got the materials, but I’ve made a few of these with and without the kids and they really are lovely. It also introduces the reader to a rich variety of crafty and lifestyle blogs, some of which I still follow.
For those interested in a more structured approach to drawing are the lessons found in Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes, founder of the Monart Drawing Schools. This is a best-selling educator’s tool, but is easily adapted to home use by parents and their children, or by adults wanting to learn themselves. The approach is both practical and inspiring, and it is truly is amazing to see what new artists, both young and old, are able to create after just a few of these lessons. I never learned to draw as a child and thought I didn’t miss it, but this book tells me otherwise.
For those who like to sew, Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & Go is filled with crafty goodness and toys. This book is aimed at adults (unless you child is very handy with needle and thread), but the outcomes make beautiful decorations and playthings for children. My boys sometimes just look through this book because the toys are so attractive.
Finally, and maybe my current favourite, are the doodle prompts in Jenny Doh’s Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists. Tried and true doodlers may not see the point of such a book, but for those of us who often feel as blank as the page in front of them, this book is perfect. Working with simple and repeating patterns never looked so good and I feel more confident sitting down to draw with the boys with this book by my side than without it.
Do you have any favourites to share?
Thank you for these post. I was looking for a guide like this!
It’s our pleasure – I get lots of ideas and references from blogs too!
I recommend “I can draw people” and “I can draw animals” from Usborne books, by Ray Gibson. I have been absolutely astonished at what children can produce with the help of these books!
Thanks Kelly, I have a feeling I’ll be astonished at both what the kids can learn and their mom too. Have added these to my list…
There is a series of books that teach based on shapes: If You Can Draw [A Triangle], You Can Draw Anything. I love them. Really simple, all the steps drawn out for you.
There’s also a great one by Ed Emberly that’s based on fingerprints.
His share in the Wanderer Reef was sold by auction, and knocked down to me at the reserve price,
without a bid. We wrapped the gold up carefully in
canvas, and then put it into two boxes, one
of which we stowed away on each side of a packhorse in leathern packbags.
So here’s what I suggest: That if any of our fine legislators can’t face the day without putting away
a fifth of Old Overcoat, I say it’s high time they stop snappin’ at
that bottle and start putting in to get the help they need.