Praise Effort Instead of Product When Discussing Children's Art

Child's hand with paint brush

When young children are creating art, it’s important for child care providers to remember to praise effort instead of product. Praising the product is very tempting. It’s easy to say, “I love your beautiful painting!” without really thinking about the words. Unfortunately, there are several ways that your well-meaning praise can go wrong.

How Can Praise Be Negative?

Child care providers may praise children’s artwork to help increase their self-esteem. Unfortunately, children sometimes misinterpret teachers’ praise. Here are some common …

Making Creative Art Available to All Children in a Child Care Program

Art center materials

Creative art is an important part of the child care curriculum that helps children explore their feelings, practice creativity and problem solving, and develop fine motor skills. Creating art can foster a child’s feelings of self-esteem and success. Art is a great way for young children to improve motor skills and strengthen pathways of connections in the brain, which can help them succeed at academic skills later.

Child care providers need to be sure to make art available to all …

Ways Child Care Providers Can Support Children Who Run into Problems Doing Art

Child's artwork

Children in child care settings can sometimes run into problems while they are doing creative art activities. They may finish early or want to work longer on their projects, they may get stuck in an artistic rut, or get frustrated because the activity is too simple or difficult for them. As a child care provider, here are some suggestions you might try if you run into this dilemma.

Children Who Finish Early or Late

  • Situation: Some children finish early while

Ways Child Care Providers Can Support Children Who Are Critical of Their Own or Another’s Art

Crayon tips

A common dilemma child care providers face is children who are critical of their own or another child’s art. These children may dislike their own art, have unreasonable expectations or standards or criticize another child’s art. Children of all ages may be critical of their art, but older children are more interested in drawing realistically and may be most critical when their artwork does not turn out as planned. Here are some suggestions you might try when children criticize their …

Creative Art Helps Children Develop across Many Domains

Hand covered with colorful paint

Creative art activities can help children in all areas of development. Child care providers should plan creative activities with the child’s overall development in mind. Here are some ways that art activities can support young children’s development.

Physical Development

When child care providers offer art activities, they are supporting children’s large and small muscle development, as well as their eye-hand coordination. Using crayons, markers, and paintbrushes helps children practice the fine motor control they will need for writing later on.…

Balancing Process and Product in Creative Art Activities

Toddler painting with squeeze bottle

Well-planned art experiences are a valuable part of the child care curriculum. Early childhood art activities need to balance process and product. Process is doing, product is the result. Young children are process-oriented. For infants and toddlers, the joy of art is in the doing and making. They usually want lots of finger paint, really squish it around, and then pay no attention to what happens to their picture afterward.

Preschoolers love to experiment with color and design. They do …

Avoid Activities Masquerading as Creative Art in Child Care Settings

Crayons and coloring sheet

Creative art is an important part of the child care curriculum because it allows children to practice self-expression, fine motor skills, thinking and many other skills. Unfortunately, many activities that look like creative art do not actually encourage creativity. These activities are sometimes used in art programs and may help develop fine muscle control or eye-hand coordination, but they don’t provide artistic and creative opportunities.

It’s important to avoid activities masquerading as creative art. Activities that masquerade as creative share …

Planning Creative Art Activities for Multi-age Groups

Child's hands painting a ball of paper

Many child care providers work with mixed-age groups that include children of many different ages. Planning your child care curriculum to include creative art activities that are appropriate (and safe) for infants through school-agers can be challenging. Here are some tips for child care providers to choose creative art activities for multi-age groups.

  • Choose materials that appeal to different ages. Activities such as painting, drawing, and working with play dough are art activities that children of all ages can enjoy.

Creative Art Activities for Children with Special Needs

Child's hand playing with play dough

Child care providers often have children with special needs included in their programs. Art activities can be a valuable learning experience for many children with special needs, but the art activities given in a child care setting may need to be modified or adapted so that all children may participate in them.

Child care providers should also be aware that they may need to guide children with special needs when helping them with their art activities. Here are some ideas …