With all the gadgets and gizmos and extra curricular activities available for kids to occupy their time, a lost art form is sitting with your kids, getting hands on and creating a masterpiece together.
ARTCETERA, in Brooklyn, is known as an adult and children’s play place and also offers fun mommy and me events where you and your kids can get crafty. We spoke with Artcetera owner, Nanette De Cillis, event organizer Christina Berrios and with licensed Creative Arts Therapist Orliyah Finnegan, MA LMFT/ATR, PPS, about how to capture the lost art of bonding and communicating over crafty time.
Art Space. Go screen free and leave your work at the door. We often take our work home and find ourselves glued to our mobile phones. Keep all electronic devices off and set aside personal time together free of distractions, mark a creative space and get ready for some fun.
Use Imagination. Let your children’s early developing minds roam free. Go with them, explore, and create new worlds together. Our inner world comes out in our imaginary worlds and Orliyah says “art is a way to peer deeper into what our children are longing to express.” Use plah-doh to make figurines and craft new characters or create your own board game. Check these sites for inspiration Art Therapy Blog or Kaboose.
A Thousand Words. Orliyah loves using art when working with children, particularly special needs children who are often frustrated trying to vocalize their feelings because “it is a less self-defensive approach and the art becomes the vehicle for fostering communication”. It is a liberating experience for children and can calm overactive kids and focus them. Art uncovers meaning so observe and you may see what’s behind their depression, anxiety, anger and moods. Are they drawing monsters or fairytale lands? Are they looking to escape or protect your family? Call Orliyah to help you interpret.
Fun First. Your project doesn’t have to be perfect but it must be fun. It’s about the experience. Your children should feel comfortable so withhold criticism, let them go with their feelings, and fight the urge to correct. Use positive leading language like “wow, that’s interesting, who is that?” It’s their world so let the pigs fly.
Take Turns. Participate and take turns. Try tracing games and take turns tracing eachother’s drawings or create a project where each family member has to contribute. Try making year round ornaments for your family with some glitter, pictures and popsicle sticks and assign each person a task.
Recycle. Make it green and fun. Use materials from around your house, toilet paper rolls, old art projects that you’ve amassed in a closet, wrapping paper and go outside and hunt for some leaves and twigs and see how you can reimagine and repurpose the materials. Try all different re-arrangements for homemade birthday cards.
Make Memories. Memories are crafted to be lifelong keepsakes. Have each person in the family contribute something to the creation. Create a treasure box, take a binder and create your own cover to have a personalized scrapbook or hang it on a wall, make a frame or a portfolio for your joint family keepsakes.
Exhibit. Share your art. Let the video camera’s roll on your child while they explain their masterpieces and ask them thought provoking questions about the aesthetics, how it was conceived, how they made it, materials they used, what it represents to them and who they think would like it. Post your videos and pictures to your family and friends but be mindful about your budding artist’s privacy. Create a gallery wall or area in your home to show off to company or go virtual with Pinterest.
Create beautiful memories together and let us know how it goes!
ABOUT ARTCETERA: Originally opened as a playhouse for adults and separately for children, a new event series geared towards mommy and me fun. From researchers to early childhood experts, the compelling news about our children’s earliest years is very simple: PLAY WORKS . . . and our kids don’t get enough! Through a balance of guided and unstructured play activities, ArtsCetera offers parents a chance to slow down and engage in the transformative experience of their children’s earliest learning. From an infant’s delighted crowing in music class to a toddler’s first messy art extravaganza, immersing children in a fun, total arts experience is what we are all about.
ABOUT ORLIYAH FINNEGAN, MA LMFT/ATR., PPS: Orliyah is a certified Creative Arts therapist, working in New York and California and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She graduated from Phillips Graduate Institute, with a dual masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy. She’s credentialed to work in the school setting with special needs children and works with all types of parents and children to spark a new conversation through art. Orliyah@gmail.com
Cynthia Litman is a featured Healthy Living Contributor and is an entertainment lawyer, social entrepreneur, business adviser, working mom, creator, author & hostess of the blog & talk radio show Mommas Pearls. For more about her click here for her full bio and all of her articles!
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