Monday, December 5, 2011

Producing Productive Progeny, Part One: Infants

Producing Productive Progeny:
Or how to make your child a brilliant and talented artist in an arts vacuum.

By Kathryn Margaret Evans Ombam

In a three-part series, I'll be sharing creative, low-cost, or free approaches to teaching your children about the arts and encouraging confidence in their own artistic pursuits. Part one focuses on infants (up to 15 months), part two is for toddlers and preschoolers and part three focuses on school-age children. 

PART ONE: INFANTS – birth to 15 months

Infants: I can see parents of infants rolling their eyes at me. Do we really need to make an effort to expose them to art before they are school-aged?

While infants don’t yet know how to read or do differential equations, they are rapidly developing an interest in shapes, colors, and lines. Introducing them to art of all kinds can help stimulate this brain development and increase the likelihood that they, and you, will take an interest in the arts later.

Viewing Art: Go to your local community arts center. Babies will not yet have developed an aversion to what art historians call “hobbyists” so you can just enjoy showing them cats, birds, sunsets, and pottery without any hesitation.

Image Credit
Art History: If you do not have one already, get a library card. Take them to the infant story times, but also take them to the art books.

My baby had an early love affair with Matisse – she loved his paper cut-outs in books and was fascinated with the large mural at the Barnes Foundation. Everything from Van Gogh’s big colorful sunflowers to the serene colors of Mark Rothko can be inspirational to your child.

Doing Art: Consider the beautiful, jerky dance of your newborn or the giggle-fest of your older baby as performance art. Don’t try to prop your baby up and shove a crayon in its hand just yet. Wait until they show interest on their own.

Kathryn Ombam is a writer, editor, and career counselor whose specialty is in business and academic writing. She has most extensively worked with artists and designers.

Her bibliophile status and her editing work were her primary writing outlet until inspiration hit in the form of a writing contest in 2006. Her current efforts can be attributed to a fiction writing group, her blogs, and her ongoing desire to comment on her life.

Ms. Ombam’s first published work of fiction will be published in an upcoming short story anthology. She also writes a children’s book review blog:

Want to add to the conversation? Click here to learn how to become a contributor to the Productive Parenting blog.

1 comment:

  1. I got this great comment on my Facebook page... hope you other bloggers will comment too!

    We love showing our 8 month old artwork. He is used to looking at the art we have on our walls while he feeds. There is one in particular that he loves. It is a brightly colored geometric watercolor. As soon as his eyes were able to focus, he would stare at it.

    I've also taken him to our local museum and saw a minimalist exhibition of drawings by Richard Serra. I thought it was a particularly child-friendly exhibit since the works were very large and were essentially squares, circles, and triangles.

    Of course, the local museum is the MET. I am looking forward to reading your next installment!


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