exciting enough. He was a very busy boy! He
loved moving his body around. Art seemed too
quiet and confining to him.
That changed when I offered him the power
to choose his materials and what to do with
them. From that day forward, he often came
to the art center independently. He came be-
cause my squirt bottles of paint intrigued him.
He had never experienced such freedom with
paint and artistic endeavors. He squirted and
blobbed paint with curiosity and excitement!
He kept waiting for me to say, “Okay, stop!”
When I didn’t, he was even more exhilarated.
As the year progressed, he became interested
in mixing colors and continued to explore how
much he could possibly do with the materials.
creative and authentic art 37
• Be aware of the developmental stages children
are going through.
• Appreciate every moment—including the
umpteenth time children want to paint with
• Try not to worry about the mess.
• Let the children make decisions and let them be
the ones completing each step of the process.
• Be creative and foster creativity in the chil-
dren. Offer choices and allow full exploration
Making Art Inviting
How do we keep children coming to the art center?
How do we keep the art center fresh, exciting, and
full of age-appropriate art activities that build a
love for creativity and artistic exploration?
First we must observe children carefully to see
what their abilities and interests are. A thoughtful
teacher or caregiver can address these factors, pro-
viding repetition to increase confidence and skill
while introducing new materials and techniques.
Following are some tips to make your art center
inviting: Watching the paint drip down
• Use children’s favorite colors or colors that
• Add materials that you know children enjoy,
such as trucks.
• Arrange materials in an aesthetically pleasing
and inviting way.
• Be attentive, enthusiastic, and interested in the
children’s art. Make everything sound exciting!
• Be flexible and willing to adapt to the chil-
dren’s needs and desires.
Outdoor fingerpainting—with sand from the sandbox unexpectedly