Pointillism Art Invitation

Invitations to Create – 10 Open-Ended Art Invitations that Bring Out Kids’ Creativity

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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.

10 Invitations to Create Art for Kids

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 there drawing, painting, collaging, sculpting, whatever they are into. If they don’t have a dedicated place for art, they ask for art supplies or 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.

Today’s simple after-school #invitationtocreate … Black construction paper, metallic paint (BioColors), and Q-tips.

A photo posted by Jean Van’t Hul | Artful Parent (@jeanvanthul) on

How to Set up an Art Invitation

  • 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…

10 invitations to create that bring out children's natural creativity. Set up these simple yet enticing kids art activities ahead of time. #kidsart #artsandcrafts #kidsactivities #artprompt #artforkids #creativehome #parenting

10 Invitations to Create Art

1. Oil Pastel Painting

Set out oil pastels, Q-tips, and a small dish of vegetable oil with a piece of sturdy paper.

2. Light Table Art

Set up a simple art activity, such as drawing or collage, over a light box or a DIY light table.

3. Fingerprint Art

A stamp pad and a pen are all you need, but a fingerprint art book can provide some fun ideas, too.

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.

5. DIY Art Activity Pages

Or make one of these simple DIY art prompts.

6. Q-Tip Pointillism

2-3 shallow dishes of paint, some Q-tips, and paper are all you need for this art activity!

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.

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.

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.

Even More Invitations to Create Art!

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10 Invitations to Create for Children - Simple and enticing art set-ups that encourage creativity (and keep the kids engaged!) #kidsart #artsandcrafts #kidsactivities #artprompt #artforkids #creativehome #parenting

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Tobias Armstrong
    March 14, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    I like the idea to keep the materials simple and easy to work with. Also the idea to only give them a couple of different things to work with. I think back to my childhood and the thing that let me be the most creative was actually only giving me a few options. It seems counter-intuitive, but it worked really well for me. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Gretchen Mercer
    September 6, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Thank you So Much! I am a retired teacher who still has the itch to teach children! My grandchildren love it when I have crafts or art projects ready for them. We will enjoy your blog and wonderful ideas that will most likely fit for any/all ages!

    • Reply
      Archana
      September 11, 2016 at 9:56 am

      HI, I AM A HOME MAKER WHO ALWAYS HAD AN INCLINATION TOWARDS COLOURS,CHILDREN AND SPIRITUALITY
      SO I AM PALANNING TO START A CREATIVE SKILLS CLASS FOR KIDS AND YOUR INFORMATION IS THE MAIN SOURCE GIVING ME THE STRUCTURE AND CHANNELISE THE IDEAS AND TOPICS IN AN ORDER. MOST IMPORATANT -I AM ABLE TO LEARN A PLENTY OF NEW THINGS.

      THANKYOU SO MUCH

      • Reply
        Jean Van't Hul
        September 16, 2016 at 4:39 pm

        You’re welcome, Archana! Good luck with your new class!

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      September 16, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      You’re so welcome, Gretchen! Glad you enjoy my blog and ideas!

  • Reply
    Barbara
    October 10, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Jean, I LOVE your ideas and am so inspired! I teach after-school art to kids in Boise and lately find I need a jump-start for ideas to use as a springboard (yes, even with Pinterest at by beckon call). I’d love to link to your site in my next blogpost. People are hungry to learn from creatives like you! Thank you :) http://myartkin.com/category/artkin-blog/

  • Reply
    Talia
    October 25, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    how can i print off some art ideas?

  • Reply
    Invitation In A Bottle
    December 5, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Great Ideas Guys!!
    I really really enjoy your blog and excellent ideas!!

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