Keep calm and create art.
We are living in interesting times…
Smack dab in the middle of a pandemic is a place most of us never expected to be and yet, here we are.
Make no mistake. COVID-19 is a threat. But, the hysteria surrounding the pandemic is becoming as dangerous as the virus itself.
If we all try to stay calm and collected, we have a very good chance at a really great outcome. Everything will be okay if we use our good judgment to do what we can to keep ourselves and others safe.
Whether you are a teacher who has been asked to teach your students via distance education, or you are a parent who is suddenly finding yourself at home with their children, you are probably wondering what on earth you can and should do to make sure the kiddos in your care don’t forget everything they’ve learned.
I’ve been homeschooling my 11-year-old daughter since she was 4, which is probably why I’m receiving messages from friends and acquaintances asking me what to do now that schools have been shut down for a period of weeks. And I’ve been telling them all the same thing.
There’s no need for panic, or stacks of fill-in-the-blank workbooks. You don’t need to sign kids up for online programs requiring them to spend endless hours on a computer screen.
Here’s what you can do instead.
Let them play.
Yes… play. Even if your kids aren’t toddlers anymore.
Read books, play board games, dig out some Lego blocks, make art, create crafts, doodle, sing songs, listen to the radio, dance, kick a ball, go for walks (as long as you follow social distancing rules), watch some YouTube videos (yes, even those weird slime challenges featuring girls with super long fingernails).
Give your kids some time to explore their interests.
Let them sleep in.
Encourage them to eat well.
Worried about math? Find some recipes and do some cooking or baking.
Concerned about science? Do a few experiments.
Nervous about history? Watch a documentary on Netflix.
Believe it or not, learning isn’t rocket science. We all do it automatically if given half a chance.
Give them some time to explore their interests.
Also… making art is a non-medicinal way to stimulate dopamine – the chemical associated with the reward center in your brain. Increased levels of dopamine make us feel happy and relaxed, which is what all of us really need right now, more than ever.
Research shows that drawing, coloring, and other fine motor activities help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and calm the fight or flight response, easing stress and unleashing creativity. Seriously. Painting pictures, dancing, knitting, sewing, baking cakes… all have positive benefits for mental health.
Below are links to 10 of my favorite art-making activities that can easily be done at home, with minimal supplies.
They are easy, they are cheap and they will fill your family with calm.
Help your kids find inspiration where they least expect it by “strewing” their spaces with art supplies.
This is a free-form drawing project that deals with the elements of design – colour, line, shape, form and texture.
Using paper, pencils, markers and some objects from around the home and classroom, children can create some fantastic patterns that will astound and amaze.
Blind contour drawing is an excellent way to train the eye to draw what it really sees rather than what it thinks it sees.
This lesson requires planning and problem solving, much like a math problem or science experiment. Students will see that scribbles can become much more.
Students will study the art and life of Kandinsky. They will also make an oil pastel picture of circles while listening to music.
Students will learn about lines as they create a colorful picture using a variety of lines.
Students will learn about line, shape and color as they create colorful works of art.
Students can follow step by step directions to create a spider web drawing.
Here are five creative arts and crafts activities kids can do on their own (depending on age, of course). Best of all, the materials are inexpensive and easily accessible.
Instead of worrying that our kids are about to forget everything they’ve ever known, just give them a chance to learn on their own. You will be amazed by the results.
Also, wash your hands!
~Andrea (Co-Founder, KinderArt.com and The KinderArt Club)
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Remember, you can find even more ideas in our Lesson Library