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Last Saturday, we conducted our first Play-Jam session, a hands on Arts session for children and parents. It was inspiring (and to us, hugely satisfying) to see parents take such an interest in developing the creative abilities of their children. The session was conducted at Atta Galata, a beautiful space for Arts & Culture related activities in Koramangala, a pretty part of Bangalore.
If you missed the session, here is a recap.
Why do children draw?
Most adults draw as a means to pursue a hobby -a special activity that is reserved for creative self expression. However, to a child – drawing is a way of thinking, of building a mental model of the world. Most children draw naturally, a phenomena that may be observed across geographies and cultures. They draw even before they learn how to read, write or count – sometimes even before they learn how to speak. This is why, children’s drawings can be a great source of insight into the mind of a child – as a means to understand the child’s current interests (which fluctuate rapidly) and motivations.
We briefly demonstrated the difference in drawing types between children and adults when we asked them both to draw a tree. The trees that adults drew were generic trees – in most cases non-identifiable. The trees that children drew were specific (A Cherry tree, an Apple tree or a ‘small’ tree!) and in many cases also indicated the surrounding ecosystem of the tree – birds, fruits, nests, fringes of grass around the roots…
The stages of Child Art.
Children’s drawings change over the course of their development, in amazing ways. During the Jam we displayed a few artworks from our collection that demonstrated the drastic changes that occur in drawing method and ability, as the child grows up. From early scribbles that indicate fine motor-control, to pre-schematic and schematic artwork that display the child’s growing perceptual abilities, to the gang and pre-realist phases here the artworks begin to display peer influences in the choice of subject matter. The stages in Child-art offer a fascinating glimpse into the development of the child.
How do you inspire children to draw often?
Drawing need not be a lonesome child activity, and in fact can be a bonding experience for parents and children. (Of course, this does not mean that parents should intrude into the child’s space every-time she sits down to draw.) The idea is to express an interest, and be genuinely curious of the elements that begin to appear within the child’s artwork. Between the ages of 2 – 6, parents should not attempt to correct the elements within the child’s drawing, and must not second guess the child’s creative decisions. (Children older than 6 can benefit from gentle feedback.)
A useful way to encourage the child to draw is to prime the child’s interest by storing art material where it can be seen. Most parents like to maintain a tidy house, and tend to store art material out of sight – which means what tends to attract the child’s attention is what is easily available at hand – the television, or games on a laptop or on the iPad.
There is a flip-side to this bit of advice however… toddlers have a habit of tasting everything – so store those crayons in a child-proof PET bottle. This way the little one can ask for your help when he wants to draw.
Thanks to all parents who participated and took the time to give us your feedback. Slightly longer jams with an improved structure
The next Play Jam is on the 8th of November at Atta Galata. We have limited seats, so remember to sign up early.
Click here to sign up for the Playjam