Drawings in their mash potatoes, on the wall, in the mud- children are natural artists. They want to create and to see how they can impact their world. Take advantage of that natural urge and guide it into appropriate outlets by providing your child with many different types of art mediums and reading books about art and artists.
Start with, Art Parts: A Child’s Introduction to the Elements of Art by Kim Bogren Owen to introduce the idea that art and pictures are made up of different parts or elements. Lines, colors, shapes, space, and texture, along with emotions, create the art we experience whether it is in an advertisement, a book, or at the museum. Many of these simple concepts also form the basis of geometry which makes math a little more relatable. Blank pages in this book allow children to experiment with the various elements right in the book.
Use the following books to expand on the concepts in Art Parts: A Child's Introduction to the Elements of Art.
Look! Look! Look! And Look! Look! Look! At Sculpture by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace and Linda K. Friendlaender follow the adventures of 3 little mice as they investigate art. As the 3 mice ponder how color, shape, and space are used to create the art that they are looking at they create their own masterpieces.
Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter explores how Matisse made his collages using cut out shapes of paper. Most of the shapes in the book are abstract, but arranged together they make amazing images. Encourage your child to make their own collages with abstract shapes they cut out, and present the idea that not all shapes need to be symmetrical.
Out on a walk with her classmates, a little girl finds a piece of yarn in The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer. She picks it up and makes it into all kinds of things from dragons to the moon. The yarn’s motion inspires the girl to see different things. Give your child yarn to dance with and see what they make, and then create a piece of art using one or many different pieces of yarn to study lines.
The Touch the Art series of board books by Julie Appel A and Amy Guglielmo are great for young children to discover the different textures of art pieces. Touch the Art: Tickle Tut’s Toes and Touch the Art: Brush Mona Lisa’s Hair would be two great ones to start with.
Museum Shapes (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Museum Colors: The Metropolitan Museum of Art are two gorgeous books that demonstrate various shapes and colors in a many different styles of art. Excellent books!
The final element to explore is feelings. Expand on this concept with How is Mona Lisa Feeling? By Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober.
The rest of the books are general art books that any child would love!
Art by Patrick McDonnell tells of Art, a young boy, who loves to create. Simple words and art pass on the joy Art and his mother feel in his creating.
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg encourages children to see their mistakes as opportunities to “make something beautiful!” A joyful read that sends a wonderful message about acceptance and the discovery that can happen through a mistake.
The last book I will recommend today is I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont and David Cartow. This delightful book celebrates the joy children find in painting everything! This would be a great book to read before you allow your child to paint themselves in the bathtub. Afterwards just fill the tub, scrub them down, and watch the mess wash down the drain!
Keep an eye out for future blogs with art book recommendations. There are a lot of good ones out there!
Art Parts: A Child’s Introduction to the Elements of Art is now available for pre-order on Amazon (as are all of these books) or my website. Five percent of our profits go to Reach Out and Read to support their efforts promoting literacy.
As always, I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Feel free to share with credit to Words Reflected and Kim Bogren Owen on Facebook, your website, or in your newsletter. Please add your recommendations for additional books about the elements of art in the comments.
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