Supporting Children’s Artwork—Even if it’s Messy

The Institute for Families and Nannies

The Institute for Families and Nannies

Let’s face it—art can be messy. The thought of glitter, glue and paint may make some parents squirm, but allowing children to tinker with materials actually helps them connect with the world around them.

According to Lauren Sharp, owner of ARTifact, a children’s art studio in San Francisco, messy art is sensory art. “It’s so important, especially for younger children to know how paint smells, how play dough feels, how squishy things sound,” she explains. “This is how children learn and discover the world they live in. Messy art is something that is necessary to make those synaptic connections between the world and the thought formations in a child’s mind.”

When considering the idea of doing messy art projects at home, it’s important for parents to know their limitations. “My parents created a designated space in the house for that,” Lauren explains. “They knew and I knew that messy art could occur in that space, but they knew and I knew not to cross that line. I had my own designated tinker lab and my parents had their clean, tidy designated living space.”

Lauren’s tips at a glance:

  1. Know your limitations.
  2. Create a designated space in the house for art.
  3. Keep living space separate.

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks/flickr

Art for kids, Child Development art for kids, supporting children's artwork