The quote "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up," is credited to Pablo Picasso. Whether it was really spoken by the great abstract artist or by someone else, the saying is entirely true.
Teachers and adults working with toddlers and preschool-aged children often wonder if they should just let children create art however they choose or if there should be some sort of instruction and guidance when it comes to art lessons. Just as no two children are alike, no one method will work for every budding artist. There should be time for free exploration and times when there are guided lessons. Creating art should be the most rewarding part of the process.
Whether one is a teacher who works with preschoolers on a regular basis or one is a parent who wants to give their child the best artistic possibilities, the Preschools Examiner suggests the following seven titles that deal with art and children. Each one has it's own merits and are meant to be a guide to creating art with children of all ages, but particularly those in their preschool years.
"Alphabet Art: With A-Z Animal Art & Fingerplays" by Judy Press and Sue Dennen (Williamson Pub., 1997) With plenty to choose from, this book contains art activities as well as songs and finger plays.
"Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters" by MaryAnn F. Kohl and Kim Solga (Bright Ring Publishing, 1997) Using the great artistic masters of the past, young children will learn to create their own masterpieces.
"More Than Painting: Exploring the Wonders of Art in Preschool and Kindergarten" by Sally Moomaw and Brenda Hieronymus (Redleaf Press, 2002) A great book for guiding teachers and other adults who aren't sure how much they should influence young artists in their creative processes.
"Ecoart!: Earth-Friendly Art and Craft Experiences for 3-To 9-Year-Olds" by Laurie Carlson (Williamson Pub, 1992) Whether it is twigs found in the backyard or empty tin cans, this book guides young artists to create a more beautiful world.
"123 I Can Draw!" by Irene Luxbacher (Kids Can Press, 2008) For more structured art lessons, this book will help every child artist feel successful.
"Organic Crafts: 75 Earth-Friendly Art Activities" by Kimberly Monaghan (Chicago Review Press, 2007) Similar to "Ecoart!" this book explores the organic process of art using found items.
"Preschool Art: It's the Process, Not the Product!" by MaryAnn F. Kohl (Gryphon House, 1994) A book that reinforces the idea that creating art should be about the actual creating and not the finished piece.