Andrea Mulder-Slater: The Art of Childhood


How to Make Art When You Don't Know How to Make Art

Drip It, Dab It, Squish It

It’s a rainy afternoon - maybe even a snow day - and you’re itching to sit down with your kids and make something cool. Only, you’re pretty sure they already know how to draw stick figures and beyond that, you’re feeling kind of inadequate.

Before you abandon the idea altogether, see if you can answer the following questions.

1) Do you have paint in the house?
(small containers from the dollar store will do just fine)

2) Do you have paper?
(computer paper is all you need)

3) Are you willing to make a mini mess?
(not too big, I promise)

If you answered yes to all three questions, then you are well on your way to having an artistic moment with your kids.

Get Dirty; Make Art

To begin, find an area in your home where you can spread out some newspapers or an old tablecloth.

Then, gather some paint, keeping in mind it doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. You can often find little containers of acrylic or poster/tempera paints at the dollar store or at any craft store. As a bonus, if you use the primary colours (red, yellow and blue) you can turn this into a quick lesson on colour mixing. Double win!

Gather your supplies

After that, grab a stack of paper from your computer printer, a paintbrush or two (we used one for each colour) and a container of water.

The next steps are easy and fun for kids (and adults) of all ages.

1) Fold a sheet of paper in half, unfold it and prepare to choose a colour.

Fold your paper, unfold it and prepare to choose a colour.

2) Place a dab of paint on one side of the paper. 

Add one colour.

3) Then, place a dab of paint on the other side.

Keep painting!

4) Fold the paper.

Fold the paper.

5) Rub the paper. (Tip: place another sheet of paper on top to absorb any leakage.)

Rub the paper.

6) Unfold the paper.

Unfold the paper.

Unfold the paper.

7) Marvel at the wonderful burst of colours.

Marvel at your work.

8) Repeat.

Once dry, you can leave the blots as they are, or you can get creative by cutting them out and gluing them onto colourful construction paper.

Blotter bug  

Blotter bug.

Feeling adventurous? Grab a magic marker and add some embellishments, like eyes and legs. Before you know it, the splats of colour you and your kids created together will become monsters, bugs, or alien creatures. The sky’s the limit and there is endless fun to be had while naming your creations.

Dizzy ladybug
The Dizzy Ladybug

Robot Wearing Mittens

Angry Hornet

Dancing beetle
Dancing Beetle

Bear paws
Rooster Kissing Rooster

The Fine Print: The primary colours are red, yellow, and blue and all other colours can be created by mixing them together in various combinations. Yellow + Red = Orange. Red + Blue = Violet. Blue + Yellow = Green. We call these new colours the secondary colours.

Imagine that!

Find more fun and creative art projects for you and your kids from Andrea at The Art of Childhood.