At Fun Spaces, we encourage play time for adults and children by providing space to do so at special events. We believe that adults and children also need to make space to have fun together so we created the Family Fun Challenge, an opportunity to create fun things to do with kids in your own space. We provide prompts during the challenge so you will not have to put too much thought into what to do and instead focus on having fun with your children.
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Family fun with art
Having fun with your family can be as simple as doing an art project together. Creating art as a family is an opportunity to learn more about each other‘s preferences. Here’s your chance to encourage your child and show off your own creativity. You can have an art competition with each other, create gifts for family members or both. It’s also one of the easiest ways to spend quality time together without spending too much money.
Make sure you have the supplies to create art before you need it. There are essentials you need including drawing instruments and paper. I’ll share ways to use these tools and what to do when you finish. Recommendations include age, budget and messiness considerations!
We’ll use paper as a generic term for all things to draw on. You can use regular printer paper for basic projects. As toddlers grow to preschoolers and elementary aged students, consider adding watercolor paper and construction paper to the mix for their use in their own direction.
As they get even older and more confident in their art, or for your own use, card stock and canvas will offer a more permanent solution and will look gorgeous as displayed on a wall when finished. Elementary-aged and tweens will enjoy using sketchpads and art journals to keep their designs and watch their progression as stronger artists.
All ages can create some cool art on plain white t-shirts with fabric paint. For one of our Fun Spaces events, we allowed the kids to use fabric markers on white socks for their art designs but thought of using hats as well.
Alternatively, ready-to-paint ceramics provide a blank slate for you and your children to add color to an already structured item. Great for gift-giving to your favorite aunt!
Your youngest artists will truly enjoy using finger paint to express themselves (yes with their fingers)! Make sure you allow this while sitting or standing on an area covered with tarp, drop cover or newspaper 🙂 An apron would come in handy here as well. They so enjoy chalk – inside AND outside!
Preschoolers to elementary aged children will enjoy (listed in order of most fun, most messy) Tempera Paint, markers and crayons. Watercolor paints work well with the watercolor paper mentioned above yet can be used on other paper types as well. The kids may try oil pastels at school but I don’t recommend them as a regular art supply at home… it can be messy on and off paper. However if you are cool with that, then go forth!
As your artists get older, they may want to use regular pencils for sketching out designs before adding color. You can use pencils for coloring in, especially colored pencils (a go-to instrument for adult coloring books). Alternatively gel pens would be great for fine colors. Charcoal pencils are useful for the mature artists who know what they are doing and can keep things from getting too messy. Acrylic paint is beautiful for filling in drawings at this level but also translates well off of a static canvas – wood, plastic and other materials.
Add your color from a supply of mixed sized paint brushes. You could also cut up a clean non-scratch scrub sponge, cotton balls, or q-tips to add paint with texture to your artwork. Best of all, fingers are the messiest solution for adding color to your project but they are usually available, free and oh so cute with the little ones! Definitely a great move to put art in their memory books. Or an easy way to practice control with older ages.
Use a paint tray to keep your tempera or acrylic paints separated. Although you can use regular water-filled plastic cups to keep your brushes clean, consider one of these
Other Art Supplies
Without getting too much into crafting, other basics include cotton balls, foam, felt, pipe cleaners, pom-poms. Children can cut, glue, tape, thread and more to add these materials to the supplies mentioned above.
Adhesives to have on-hand include:
- Liquid glue (useful for more than adhesives)
- Glue stick
- Glue dots
- Masking Tape
- Invisible Tape
- Duct Tape
- Spray adhesive for finishing
Bargain Art Supplies
When you very little extra money to spend on these supplies, great bargains can be found at Dollar Tree for chalk, sidewalk chalk, crayons, and some paints. They have a good variety of art activities appropriate for families to do together including sun catchers and small ceramics to paint.
During the traditional back to school season, especially in September when things are on clearance, you can find many deals at big box retail and office supply stores.
Ways to Play with Art
When it’s time to be creative and pull out the art supplies, there are a million ways to play with art. Creating art together is an opportunity to learn more about each other’s likes, dislikes, ways of working and how you each like to be recognized. Here’s your chance to encourage your child and show off your own creativity. It’s also one of the easiest ways to spend quality time together without spending too much money.
Freeform, a.k.a. let them be free, is always good and can tell you a lot about how your kids think, what’s on their minds, and how they are developing at any age. Just prepare the area for easy cleanup, pass them art supplies and let them go at it. You can do it too as a model for what they should do – anything that comes to mind without constraint!
You can have more structure and still keep your essence in creating art without simply using coloring books and worksheets.
Recently, I challenged my boys to draw a tree in our neighborhood, capturing the new colors in the tree, with an option to add a couple of hot wheels cars. Besides those elements, they could create whatever scene they wanted. The results of this was amazing and indicative of their individual personalities. They had certain elements in common that actually were not reflective of the day at all. For instance, it was a sunny day, but they both had rain, dark skies AND the sun, and they used these elements differently.
The project went wonderfully and presented a great opportunity for me to praise them and for them to praise each other.
We did this as an activity from the FREE family fun challenge I created to encourage more families to play. You can join the challenge by clicking below
Feel free to have kid-friendly music like that from KidzBop or family radio streams from Spotify and other music streaming services. The music can be a source of inspiration. It just feels good to hear music we can bop to while being creative.
More art inspired activities can be found in my upcoming book. Sign up here to get notice as soon as it’s available on Amazon.
When you have finished family art work:
- praise the good work
- show it off to others
- display the art at home, work or other places you go regularly
- enter it as a contest entry – your state may have a contest perfect for the artwork created by your school-aged child
- create gifts:
- get the perfect sized frame to display in your living room or send it that way to a loved ones home
- take a digital picture of the art and upload it to a product creating website like Shutterfly, Zazzle, or RedBubble
- create products for sale – Zazzle, Printful, Shopify, and others make it simple to use artwork to create many kinds of products to sell! Open a shop with your child’s or family’s artwork and bring in extra income.
My youngest started on this latter path during summer and created the perfect character to add to all of his products… I’ll announce when we release his first one!
Where to Put Your Supplies
Back to art supplies, it’s great to have all of these on hand for artwork any day of the week but you need to have a place to put it all, right?
You can also repurpose old canned goods or plastic cheeseball containers.
When on the go, I have found gallon size storage bags to be very useful as quick activity bags. In the car or on the airplane, the kids can easily access crayons, paper, pencils and whatever else we add to the package. This can fit in a drawstring bag or backpack.
Find Joy in Art
Art is a good way to spend time with your family. You do not have to spend a ton of money on supplies to have a great experience creating art. You can use simple household supplies and materials from your outside environment to create beautiful pieces. Spending time as a family to create art is a multifaceted way to enjoy each other’s talent and company, make meaningful gifts for loved ones and create a new family income stream too!
I encourage you to find time to play with your family by doing family artwork together. You won’t regret it!