Sunday, June 12, 2011

Playing at being an Artist

Our recent discussions have centered on the importance of play for young children. One of the points last week was about setting the stage for creative play to evolve.
For very young children in the learning to walk stage, you might organize your kitchen cupboards so that your child can open the door of one cabinet and play with the pots and pans and utensils you know are safe. As you see that the pots you have chosen are no longer interesting, change the contents of that cabinet or add more items.
For preschoolers, you might set out a series of sizes of cardboard boxes and watch what evolves over a few days. When the boxes are not interesting, you might add markers, glue, and paper to decorate them. Your child will go from engineer and building contractor to artist with only a little different stage that you set.
Setting the stage for play can also be going for a walk. I still fondly recall my two young neighbors, armed with their wooden guns and wearing plastic gloves so they could ‘hunt for trash’. Their mother set the stage for play by taking the boys for a walk just down their driveway and road. She helped by carrying the trashbag, giving the boys gloves to wear.
I invite you and your children to enjoy the stage that will be set at Falge Park (or the lower level of the library in case of rain). Area artists will be playing, using their minds and talents to create art this Saturday, June 18, from 9:30 to 4:00 and the public is invited to walk around and talk to the artists as they create. Cheryl Willingham, a member of the Rusk Area Arts Alliance, is setting up a parallel activity for children. I think the experience for children will be much like the toddler in the kitchen. Children will see artists painting and the stage will be set for them to play at being an artist. I will be there, playing also, and I hope you can come too!

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