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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 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 their hands! • 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 of materials. 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 attract them. • 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 mixed in COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL