When kids are afraid to fail, they become frozen… unable to try anything but the known and the predictable. It’s a pattern that will be carried with them throughout their lives.
And, isn’t that a shame?
Art class should be a place where children are provided with room to experiment, learn and grow.
But if the projects they are presented with consistently have too many restrictions (draw this here, use this color there), then that fear of failure can start to sneak up and smother whatever creativity might be lurking within.
This is why it is so important to give kids opportunities to work on open-ended projects where no two results will be the same.
No comparisons. No rubrics. No wrong way. No right way.
Don’t get me wrong, a foolproof, step-by-step lesson can give kids a huge confidence boost. But if every moment in the art room is directed, and every project is focused on creating someone else’s version of a “perfect”, share-worthy product, then creativity will wain, mistakes won’t happen, and kids will become frozen.
This is why when we design art lessons, we make sure to leave room for all sorts of changes and modifications. Because our goal is for children to get past the fear of doing something the “wrong” way and instead focus on finding their own way.
After teaching thousands of kids, we’ve seen the difference it makes.
Just a little something to think about as we contemplate how we all approach teaching art to children.
I’ve been teaching art for more than 25 years and developing art curriculum for nearly that long.
My first foray into the art room was as a last minute fill-in for an absent teacher. I was in my early twenties and found myself teaching sculpture to 35 fourth graders with little to no supplies.
It was definitely trial by fire!
Not long after, my mom and I began teaching art at a local art gallery where money was tight and supplies were limited. I can’t tell you how many times we walked into the art room, only to find another instructor had made off with the basket of paints we were planning to use that day.
Talk about having to think on your feet.
Today, after teaching art to more than 5500 children and 15,000 adults in public and private school classrooms, art galleries, my own art studio and – for the past 8 years – as a homeschooling mom, I know what helps creativity, and what hinders it.
The KinderArt Club can show you how bring out the best in your 5-12 year old students and children, and give you the confidence you need to teach art and encourage creativity, even if you aren’t an artist!
Since 1997, more than 70 million teachers and parents have trusted KinderArt to help them teach art to kids. We can help you break the ice in your art room too.
You wrote this article very well. Very knowledgeable. Thanks for sharing this article
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You are currently on the KinderArt.com site which features lots of free art activity ideas for kids (I hope you are enjoying them!) HOWEVER, if you are looking for more detailed art lesson plans, drawing lessons, printables, sketchbook starters (and more) provided monthly, you will LOVE The KinderArt Club - a membership portal designed for parents, homeschoolers, classroom art teachers and studio instructors.
Inside the club you will find hundreds of printable PDF art lessons designed to work in small or large group settings, with a range of ages (from 5 to 12 years).
Get creative teaching kids at home, instructing students in a classroom, leading workshops in a studio, or sharing online, as you explore artists, art periods, science, nature, history, cultures and themes, with creativity and flexibility in mind.