Use Guided Imagery to Spark Your Child’s Imagination
Guided imagery is an educational technique that is used in quality art education programs to help children tap their imaginations. You can make art for kids a magical experience that can transport your child on a journey of creative discovery. Your child does not have to visit an unusual location in order to illustrate his or her vision of it. An adult can lead this imagination-boosting activity. First, you’ll want to set up an art activity area. Don’t forget a protective table covering, depending upon what kinds of art supplies you plan to make available to your child. Have different sizes of white paper with lots of paints, markers and/or crayons and tools to draw and create. Guided imagery helps children tap their mind’s eye. Ask your child to close his/her eyes. Speak slowly with inflection as you read the passage below, and then see what blooms from your child’s imagination.
A Rainforest Adventure
Let’s visit the rainforest. Close your eyes. Grab your pretend camera and let’s climb aboard a magic carpet and fly over our neighborhood and out of town and though our country until you reach a tropical rainforest far, far away. Hold on tight as you swoop down through the dense grove of trees. You settle down upon the soft earth below. Keep your eyes closed and let your senses explore your environment. Smell the rich scent of tropic flowers and moist earth. Do you feel the sticky, warm air? Hear the buzzing of insects, whirring of small birds flying nearby, as well as the rustling of animals in the high tree canopies. A snake is lazily coiling around a nearby tree trunk. Is that a monkey overhead? Let your imagination capture what you see. Snap a few pictures of the amazing scenery. Perhaps it’s a colorful flower, a vast tree canopy, a tropical bird, a big bug, a slithering snake, or a long-tailed monkey swinging from the high branches. One thing is for sure: these are not sights you see at home!
Now, open your eyes and draw some of the pictures taken by your inner vision. Add color and detail that brings the images to life. This is art for kids at its best.
Art vs. Craft
When you consider art for kids, wording can be confusing. Check out many community education catalogs and enrichment camps descriptions, and you’ll often see “arts & crafts” listed as an option for children.
What distinguishes instruction in art vs. crafts?
Process and outcomes tend to separate a visual arts experience from making crafts. While a craft workshop entails following directions to produce a specific product, a visual arts class provides instruction and encourages an exploration of materials and ideas that do not necessarily lead to a particular outcome. Creativity in craft-making tends to be limited to individual choices in terms of using color and embellishments. Creativity in the visual arts is expansive, because children generate ideas and develop them, drawing from their experiences, knowledge and imagination.
What are the benefits of each activity?
In a craft class, children follow directions, which is a valuable skill. They may also become more adept at using tools, such as scissors. Fine motor skills can be enhanced with such activities as beading a necklace. In terms of outcome, most completed projects are similar because they result from following direction and basing their work on a sample or model. Children derive satisfaction from completing a project.
In a visual arts class, children learn about art using basic shapes and bright colors inspired by an artist, such as Sophie Harding. Students develop their technique, learn an arts vocabulary and benefit from using their imaginations to create original works that forms, techniques and styles. A lesson may focus on painting methods in a “Naïve” style reflect the discovery process. The discovery process helps children to understand cause and effect: what happens when I mix orange and green? Working with independent ideas facilitates the development of problem-solving skills. Art students explore abundant creative materials and experiment with color, line and form. Art education nurtures many transferable skills, including creativity, innovation, teamwork, lateral thinking, intuitive reasoning and thinking outside the box. Fine motor skills are enhanced, as well. Children tend to take great pride in creations that reflect their vision, emotions and sense of style. This is art education at its best!