Originally published on Savvy Auntie.
Youth Art Month (YAM) is observed every March to emphasize the value of art education in youth and to encourage the support of art programs in schools. Instead of taking nieces and nephews on an afternoon outing to a local art museum or library in celebration of YAM, aunts can use this opportunity to talk about the importance of art and have the kids create their own artistic masterpieces right at home. Here are a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing!
1. Sidewalk Art
Print out some images of famous artwork and have the kids reproduce their favorite pieces on the sidewalk or in your driveway with some sidewalk chalk. Share background information about the history of the artwork and the artists who created the chosen pieces—a great way to introduce nieces and nephews to other famed masterpieces.
2. Name the Artist
Print out pictures of famous paintings and their descriptions, including the artists’ names and biographies. Post the images around your living room and divide the set of descriptions among your nieces and nephews. Allow the kids to go around the room, matching the images with the artists and their biographies. While nieces and nephews inspect the pictures, they can discuss their thoughts regarding the paintings or the artists’ lives and influences.
3. Backyard Photography
Give your nieces and nephews disposable cameras and let the kids snap pictures of anything that interests them in your backyard. Print out and share some information about photography styles and techniques before the kids go out to take their pictures. Once the photos are developed, place them in an album—or hold another artistic workshop and use the pictures to create a scrapbook with the kids!
4. YAM Art
Let nieces and nephews decorate yams to celebrate YAM! Spread craft paper on the dining table and set out some paint, glitter, glue, construction paper, felt, etc. Little nieces and nephews can have fun using their imaginations to create art pieces with the yams. When they finish, let the kids talk about their creations.
5. +/- Finger Painting
Turn a simple math activity into a fun and creative game for the kids, especially for the niece or nephew who has trouble with math problems. Roll out some craft paper and spread newspapers around to prevent the paint from ruining your floor or carpet. Provide the kids with some finger paint and give them a simple math problem (e.g., 5 + 7 = ?). Once your nieces and nephews solve the problem, they can finger-paint the answer onto the craft paper.