This past year I hosted another home art class with Edie and a few of her friends with an art exhibit at the end (my favorite part)…
This is the second year I’ve hosted the class. The first year was just Edie and two friends on our kitchen table, and this year we moved it downstairs to our studio space and invited five friends. I also invited our 10 yr old neighbor to come and help as well.
I really wanted to steer away from kid crafts, the challenge was that most of the younger ‘art’ curriculum online falls into this overplayed genre IMO. I wanted to focus on teaching art techniques and concepts in a simplistic and fun way.
Disclaimer: I’m not an artist! I just really enjoy the process of learning and working with kids on art. I did a lot of research and came up with a list of art techniques, concepts, and movements I wanted to teach. Then I brainstormed some fun ways to translate/execute it with 5 yr olds.
A few other things about how this class worked. It’s just for fun, I only charged a small supplies fee. This might change in the future, but it makes sense right now. I felt less pressure (every once in a while we cancelled class because of work travel or a family trip), and also remember: I’m not an artist so I didn’t really feel qualified to be doing this anyway! It’s more of an ‘art playdate’ in my head.
The class was held right after school on Fridays. We live very close to school without any real streets to cross, so I would simply pick the kids up from Edie’s class and we’d all walk through the park and to our home.
We’d take the side stairs down and enter right into the studio at the back of our home. These two things, living so close to school and having a studio to access from the outside has been so key to making this work!
The kids take turns bringing a snack which we have right away and they area always tell me all about it on the way home. A lot of times they come with freshly baked muffins omg thank you parents for the freshly baked muffins. Then we put on aprons (they bring one from home to keep for the duration), we talk about the art concept and technique, look at examples, and get to work on our projects. They usually work for about 30 minutes before I give them a play break (ya know, because they’re 5 year olds). The downstairs family room is close to the studio so I let them run wild in there for about 15-20 minutes. My 10 yr old helper, Linnea, plays ref. While they’re playing I clean things up for those that are done, finish off any extra muffins, and set up something for creative free time. Linnea and Dot sometimes work on art in the studio during this time as well.
After, they come back and either finish their project or work on the creative free time activity. For this I simply put out a bunch of things and let them do whatever they’d like with it. Markers, stamps, pom poms, sequins, glue, little pieces of scraps and other small textured items. Edie always draws some form of princess (like this one).
Parents come pick them up right from that back door, we make sure names are on the artwork and we say goodbye. I don’t send them home with the art. I let the pieces dry on a line, and then I keep them to prepare for the exhibit at the very end, after which they can take them all home. They love showing their parents what they’ve been working on that day though.
One of the challenges this year has been that Dot is really wanting (and willing) to participate, but she’s still a bit too high maintenance to manage during the class. I think this is going to be even more of a challenge this coming year. We tried a few things like putting on a movie for her, having our older helper, Linnea, assist her with a simplified version of the project, or letting her work on a project during the kids playtime break. Still figuring it out! Either way, she loved helping set up with me on Friday mornings (pictured here).
At the end of the year we host an art exhibit showcasing the work they in the class. The art exhibit might be my favorite part of the whole class. I hang all their art in specific areas of the room (using sticky tak) and invite their families to come. The kids help me prepare some treats and drinks for the guests.
I love the About the Artist plaques we make. I took a polaroid of each of them, and then I write out in their own words what they want to say about themselves and their art. It’s really sweet.
The kids got so excited for the guests to arrive!
Right before their parents arrived, they disappeared and then reappeared a few minutes later each wearing a dress up from our playroom. I had to capture them each next to their art wall. They are SO proud of their work and it’s so inspiring to see all the creativity and thought that goes into each piece.
After snacks and drinks, we had at Q&A with the artists. Each child answered questions about their art from the parents and other artists. Things like, “What was your inspiration behind the watercolor piece?”, etc. They were so excited to talk about their work and even Edie whose usually super shy, was chatty and happy to engage with the audience.
Teaching these classes makes me so happy!