Easter is approaching. Here in Ireland as well as back in the States, my memories are filled with family and friends. There is always an overwhelming feeling that spring is upon us and it is time to really get out and about again. Easter will be very different this year, and we are all learning ways to feel close, while remaining apart.
I’ve thought a lot about art as a means of bringing groups back together; Extended family, groups of friends, or classrooms. All ideas rely on a bit of help from parents or older children to take photographs of finished artwork and share these via email or messaging. Do you have an online family message group? Why not bring art into your group. Hopefully some group art activities may bring new conversations and positivity while giving a little break away from coronavirus and isolation talk.
A Family Art Gallery
Enjoy your WhatsApp group full of artwork from children both near and far, or print the groups art and create visual displays in your house to brighten spirits and remember those we can’t visit. Take pictures of your displays and share with your group to let them know you’re always thinking of them. Share your group art displays during group video chats; another good excuse to keep in touch and check in during these very isolating times.
Morph a piece of art. For example ask your group to create a simple Easter egg drawing or painting. Share them in the group. Piece together one decorated Easter egg by using segments of everyone’s eggs. Or create one group landscape, using aspects of each childs creation to create one beautiful landscape. Encourage children to create their own pieces using their own styles. (try not to make directions too structured.) The varying styles and interpretations are what make these art projects, and our children, so special.
Create your own Art Competitions
Older children can plot and plan challenges together. Parents can help with smallies. Colouring competitions, themed art or painting contests, whatever floats your boat. Name various awards, for example: best use of colour, best attention to detail, most realistic, most imaginative. The more awards the better to incourage all involved, especially smaller children.
Short and Long Term Challenges…
Not for the faint hearted, these often mean commitment in a time where parents are busy trying to get their heads around working from home, homeschooling, and online school work submissions. But older children might like to take the reins with a group challenge. There’s some ready made challenges floating around the Internet that provide a daily art, playdough or Lego challenge which go on for days, weeks or even the month. Groups can make their own challenges and older children can work together to create the challenge using video chats or messaging. Examples:
- Playdough (never underestimate playdough or clay, fun for ALL ages) Monday challenge: create a spring animal using playdough.
- Friday Lego challenge: create a Lego boat that floats
- Wednesday art challenge: create a self portrait.
Allow children to share photos of their creations. Don’t emphasise daily check ins for long term challenges. I’ve seen this in my own house, pushing to follow a monthly challenge can put some children off. Stand back and you may find children will fade in and out of long term projects. Let them share their creations with the group when they please. They may find lots of inspiration and encouragement to complete tasks from their group.
Art can be relaxing and it’s good for well-being in All ages. Why not pick up a paint brush along side your children, or dive into colouring. Adult colouring books become mindfulness exercises. Anyone share your interests? Start sharing your ideas and creations. Art brings us all together, clears our minds, and brings relaxation and focus. It’s not for everyone but why not give it a go.
What are your Thoughts?
Keep communicating, creating, and sharing. There are some beautiful ideas floating around at the moment; creative ways of bringing families, friends, and communities together whilst staying apart. Be well friends!