Sunday, July 7, 2019

Awesome Art Activities for Playdates & Parties with The Artful Parent by Jean Van’t Hul

One of my favorite things is to host parties and playdates and fill our house with little friends and get creative! I'm always looking for simple and fun ideas that can get kids out of their comfort zones and connecting with one another. 

Big group art experiences are a great way to get kids engaged, working together, and getting to know one another. 

In my talented friend Jean Van't Hul's newly revised book, (affiliate link) The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family's Life with Art and Creativity, she has an entire chapter dedicated to art for playdates and parties and groups! I was thrilled to dive in and check them out and try out some of her group art activities! She even shares tips for how to start a children's art group!

I'm so excited to be participating in Jean's Virtual Book Tour this month! You can read more about her book tour here and see what others have shared.

(This is not a sponsored post, but it does contain affiliate links.)

Jean says, "Group art experiences can do a lot to encourage the inexperienced or reluctant young artist (or parent). By providing a setting where children create art side by side, you are giving them an example of their peers happily engaged with art materials and activities."

What are the best art activities for playdates, parties, and groups?

At our house, group art activities involve very simple materials and allow for a lot of freedom. We typically focus on process-centered art versus product-focused art. 

"In general, activities that require less one-on-one attention are best, as are activities that require fewer steps." - Jean Van't Hul

Some popular activities include different types of painting, collage, playdough, sculpture, etc.

How can group art experiences help other parents who are at your house?

"Experiencing art in action can sometimes be more effective than reading a how-to book. You not only see how art materials are used... but you also observe how your own child interacts with art." - Jean Van't Hul

I love to introduce really messy art projects when we have friends over. A lot of kids don't get to do messy art at their house, so the energy is really fun! Splat Painting is one of our favorites. 

Parents are often scared of trying messy activities at home because they aren't sure how to set up the activities, set expectations with the kids, and manage it. 

How can you make a group art experience a positive experience? 

  • Start with really clear guidelines for how to use the materials.
  • Do activities in a place where you feel comfortable- outside on a nice day is a great place to start with messy activities!
  • Keep the activities simple and open-ended. 
  • Show the kids how to use the materials (and how not to use them)
  • Set boundaries so if kids aren't following your guidelines, the materials will go away.
  • Follow through with any boundaries you set!

What are some simple group art activities to start with?

Here are three easy activities you can try when you have a group of children over.

1. Set up a Playdough Invitation!

For this activity all you need are some simple embellishments and some playdough. We love beads, jewels, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes. Cookie cutters and rolling pins are great too!

2. Paint with nature

Jean shares some simple examples of nature brushes in her book. She also suggests going on a nature walk ahead of time with kids to collect materials! I love how this allows kids to experiment, problem-solve, and explore new tools that they might not have thought to use!

3. Try swimming pool painting

I have been wanting to try this activity with kids ever since Jean introduced it to me years ago! I was so glad it made it into her newly revised book because I was reminded to try it!

All you need are water balloons, washable paint, paper, a baby pool (or a large plastic tub), and tape to secure the paper in place.

As you can imagine, this turned into a giant colorful water balloon fight at the end!! We did it outside and we wore our swimsuits to keep it stress-free! It was so fun and was easy to clean up!

The kids also loved exploring the paint colors and mixing them together to make other colors!

So much great communication and teamwork had to happen in order to make this activity successful! It is a fun one to do with a multi-age group because the older kids can teach the younger kids what to do and you can just sit back and watch!

Do you have any other favorite group art experiences you've tried?

One of the things I love about The Artful Parent art activities is that they allow kids to explore different art processes and the results are always beautiful!

Jean has so many other great art projects in her book! Some other favorite tips she shares inside the book include...

How to...
  • embrace art (which is hard for some parents!)
  • encourage creativity
  • plan for art
  • make space for art
  • gather art materials
  • encourage your budding artist
  • store and share art
  • etc.

Get your copy of the new revised edition of The Artful Parent: Simple Ways To Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and Creativity here and check out all of the other amazing tips and ideas inside!

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