At every stage of life, nothing can quite soothe the soul and foster creativity and imagination like artistic expression. For children, this is especially true. Many therapists use art therapy as a means to understand someone who is too young to express him or herself with words. There is not one person who cannot create something in an artistic form, whether it’s with sketching, painting, sculpting, writing, poetry, music, singing, dance, or drama. I believe that parents who limit or neglect artistic expression in their homes are doing a huge disservice to their children. It’s not about talent. It’s about expressing oneself. Children often feel like they don’t have a voice in the world and art can help them speak.
As a 24 month old toddler, this is the perfect time to introduce the Monkey to different art forms. The best way to do that is just let the little one create. I put some newspaper or a vinyl tablecloth down on my kitchen table and lay out different supplies. We use playdoh, clay, and a small amount of different uncooked pastas, which is a great way to introduce little ones to different textures and the art of sculpture. We will go outside and use chalk to graffiti our fences, driveway, and sidewalk. We use crayons, markers, and stickers to create masterpieces. Like most children, the Monkey is really quite good at abstract expression. We’re working on portraits, but we’re not quite there yet.
In addition to creating our own art, we often venture out into the world of art. The Monkey was born in San Francisco and we started visiting museums with him before he was even a month old. Sure, he slept through most of the trips, but when he was awake it was quite a stimulating experience for him. We moved to another area of California that is filled with museums, many of which cater to children. It is something I greatly enjoy doing with him. He might not be able to understand the different periods of art or tell me how he interprets a certain painting, but I know he is taking it all in and expanding his creative side. (continues…)