Art makes us think more deeply, strive more intently, and feel joy more profoundly. ~Unknown
Art is at least as important as advanced math so why is the art program one of the first to be eliminated when our schools have budget issues? We use art every day even when we don’t realize it. Our clothes, furniture and even the design of our homes are all forms of art. Many schools say we are required to take Algebra 2 and 3 so we can have more options for our career choice. If they want us to have the most options, then why isn’t the art program considered just as important. Some may say that it is a bit of a stretch for me to say that art is at least as important as math or science. I think art is more important than advanced math and science. Look at your typical day. We have already established that the design of your clothes, house and decor are all forms of art, but what about the little things we do every day that are enhanced by art.
First, art teaches creative thinking, in other words, creative problem solving. Have you ever had a problem that seemed impossible to solve? We all have! Art creates an environment for us to explore and try new things. The best way to solve a challenging problem is to look for a solution you haven’t tried before. Art helps us see things around us in new ways, which helps train our brains to think in new ways.
Art brings people with common interests and goals together. Art often starts important conversations and debates that often lead to a better world. Franz Kafka, author of ‘ once said “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” Books have ignited conversations for social change for generations. ‘The Holy Bible’ has brought devout Christians together with the goal to spread the gospel, for example. But, books are not just the only type of art that has brought people together. Autism Speaks used the art of event planning to bring more Autism education to the world through their walks and fundraisers.
Art teaches us to slow down. It is often said that art teaches us to ‘stop to smell the roses’ so- to- speak. Imagine you are walking down a busy street and you see a mural on a wall that is just a bunch of colorful shapes. The colors catch your eye, so you stop to admire it. You have slowed down. As you look, you start to see what that the lines and shapes almost look like a very colorful cat with lots of bright blues, reds, pinks and yellows. You have totally stopped your busy life for this piece of art.
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With all these great uses for art, why have we decided that it should be the first thing to go in our schools? Of all those who have changed our world, can you think of anyone who did not use art or creative thinking to do it? Of course not! So let’s get our priorities straight and put art at the top of our educational musts, again.
Today, we talked about the Fall weather. We talked about how the leaves change colors and fall to the ground. We also spoke about how it rains more in the fall, and how the pine cones fall to the ground. We even did a fall craft project and read a book about the seasons.
Our Book: “God Made the Seasons” (from The Dollar Tree)
Fall Scavenger Hunt
Time: 30 minutes
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Art Project: Crayon Rubbings
Time: 15 minutes
Tips and Tricks
When I was a child, my mom used to say that 'bored' means 'lack of thought.' If I said I was bored, I was essentially saying I am not thinking. She told me that one time, the second time (and all the rest of the times) she would put me to work. I had to do chores right on the spot because I wasn't thinking and that wasn't good. So how do you raise kids who never get bored? I've got three steps to help you help your child stop being bored.
Step One- Education
The more your child knows, the more creatively he can think. Spend lots of time, at first, helping your child develop talents and hone all sorts of skills. Teach him to sew, draw, paint, dance, create videos and digital artwork, or anything to expand his view of the world and himself.
My mom used to tell me to learn at least one new skill or hobby every year, and in a very short time, I would have so many things I like to do, that I would no longer get bored. So far, her advice has held true. I am skilled in so many craft and art mediums that I do not remember the last time I truly felt bored.
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Step Two- Reminders
Remind your child that bored means lack of thought and that he isn't bored, he just needs to find what he wants to do. When your child is not bored, help him make a list of things he likes to do and hang it on his bedroom wall. Remind him of all the things he likes to do and help him create new ways of doing some of them.
It is okay to say what you feel, but saying out loud that you are bored just perpetuates that feeling. Also, you may have noticed, from being a kid and caring for lots of kids, it's not that they don't have anything to do, but it's that they don't want to do any of the things they have to do.
Step Three- Follow- Through
This is an EXTREMELY important step. When you say you will put him to work if you hear him say he is bored, do it! If he says he is bored after one warning, he clearly is desperate to think again, so give him an age- appropriate job to "get his brain going, again."
I once told my mom I was bored, and she had an extreme reaction. She dramatically said "Oh no! You're bored, that means you are not thinking, we'd better do something quick!" Then she made me help her clean the whole house for about 2 hours. Needless to say, I never expressed my boredom again.
Being raised in a household where expressing boredom was not allowed, It is sometimes difficult to hear kids whine "I'm bored..." five seconds after we've stopped an activity. I start telling them that you do not allow kids to tell you they are bored. Say, "You can ask me for help deciding what to do, sometimes, but boredom means lack of thought. If you are not thinking, we will have to get to work to get your brain thinking, again." No child will tell you they are bored more than two or three times.
Young children, especially preschoolers, ask a lot of questions, and one of my goals is to help them learn how to ask and answer questions on own their own. The question board is a great way to teach kids how to ask questions effectively, create a guess about the question, and then how to research the answer or test their theory.
Make the Board
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What Do We Do All Day?
How to use the board
I try to use the time we are walking to various activities (parks, the library etc) to bring up topics that will encourage the kids to ask more questions and answer them. Sometimes we talk about random trivia, like US history or what constitutes a berry. Sometimes we talk about things that are happening in the child's life and how it makes them feel or think. But these talks always end with at least one question for the question board. And the more we did it, the more the kids wanted to learn.
When the kids ask a question that they don't need to know right away and they can research on their own, I tell them we will put it on the question board. When we are about to go to the library, I remind the kids to pick one or two questions from the question board to answer. We also look some of the answers up online. With the older kids (6+), I talk to them about how to tell if a book or website is a reliable source.
Tips and Tricks
Curiosity is an important part of discovery, development and problem solving. I like this board because it helps us all keep track of our questions and answers and encourages a healthy interest in the world around the kids. We could easily just look up all the questions on the internet, but I like to take the kids to the library at least once a week and help them look up some of the answers in books and the reference section. Knowing how to do research from a variety of media sources is a very useful skill to have.
I was a nanny for over ten years. Now, I make homemade toys and write full time. Occasionally, I work at my local schools and provide back- up child care for some parents I used to work for and for my church's nursery. I am multi-talented and loves to paint, draw, crochet, write and sew.