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10 Invitations to Create to Bring Out Kids Natural Creativity

by Jean Van't Hul
March 19, 2021
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Invitations to create art bring out children’s natural creativity while providing a low-key activity they can do on their own. These 10 simple yet enticing kids art activities are set up ahead of time to encourage children to explore art materials, techniques, and ideas.

materials for q tip pointillism set up for invitation to create

Updated January 2021

How do you encourage your child to create art?

Some kids just seem to want to create all the time.* If they have their own art space, they spend a lot of time drawing, painting, collaging, sculpting, whatever they are into. If they don’t have a dedicated place for art, they ask for art supplies or art activities regularly.

*Or so it seems at during phases of their childhood.

Some kids don’t, but if “invited” to make art with an enticing set up of art materials, they might happily explore an art activity, material, or technique.

Invitations to create are great for all kids — both those who are less likely to make art unprompted and those who seem to never stop.

An invitation to create is both an opportunity to entice a child to make art, period, but also an opportunity to introduce a new material, technique, or activity.

Art invitations are OBVIOUS and CLEARLY DEFINED, unlike strewing, which is a more ambiguous and subtle way of encouraging learning and creativity. I encourage you to experiment with both.

Child oil pastel painting in invitation to create

How to Set up an Invitation to Create Art

Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting up kids art invitations.

  • Use a clean table or otherwise clear space.
  • Have the art invitation set up ahead of time. You can set it up the night before, during nap time, or while the kids are at school. Either set it up directly on the table, or set it up on a tray that you can keep out of the way until you’re ready to offer the art invitation. (We use IKEA trays and the art trays mentioned in this post about art tools.)
  • Keep the materials and set up simple and attractive. A single piece of paper with 1-3 different art materials, colors, etc, in small dishes, for example.
  • Allow the child to explore the art invitation in their own way. You can provide some guidance at the very beginning if it seems warranted (for example, “what do you think would happen if you sprinkled some of this salt over the wet watercolors?”) but for the most part let them “own” the invitation.

Here are some ideas for art invitations…

Invitations to Create 2

10 Ideas for Invitations to Create

oil pastel painting

1. Oil Pastel Painting

Set out oil pastels, Q-tips, and a small dish of vegetable oil with a piece of sturdy paper. The oil works with the pastels to create a painted effect.

light table

2. Light Table Art

Set up a simple art activity, such as drawing or collage, over a light box or a DIY light table. You can also set out materials from a sensory bin, like these beads!

Our Obsession with Fingerprint Art and a Fingerprint Art Book

3. Fingerprint Art

A stamp pad and a pen are all you need, but a fingerprint art book can provide some fun ideas, too. See what you can come up with!

Free Printable Art Activity Pages for Kids

4. Art Printables

Print out one of these creativity-inspiring sheets and set out with some markers or whatever is appropriate for the printable in question.

DIY Art Activity Pages for Kids - Eye Stickers and Frames

5. DIY Art Activity Pages

Or if you’d like, make one of these simple DIY art prompts.

pointilism with a q-tip

6. Q-Tip Pointillism

A few shallow dishes of paint, some Q-tips, and paper are all you need for this art activity!

dyed pasta

7. Pasta Collages

A sturdy paper plate, pasta (colored pasta is extra fun!) and some glue allow kids to create collages in any design or image they like, including mandalas.

hole challenge drawing

8. Hole Art

Set out a piece of paper with a hole cut out of it (or something pasted to it) along with a drawing tool or some paints.

9. Watercolors + Salt

Sprinkling salt over wet watercolors creates magic! All you need are watercolors (liquid watercolors work especially well), a small dish of salt, and watercolor paper. Add in some foil stars or other stickers for a fun sticker resist.

tape resist painting

10. Tape Art

Tape of all kinds is fun to experiment with. Add scissors and paper to a set-up with any kind of tape, but especially try washi tape (printed paper tape) or colored masking tape.

Which invitations to create will you try at home this week?

More Art Invitations for Kids

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Invitations to Create - pinterest

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