How to Make Art Less Scary: Paint With A One-Year-Old

September 27, 2018

Let’s all say it together: Art can be intimidating.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s admit that it really doesn’t have to be. The world of art can be scary, stuffy and amorphous, but it is truly all around us. And it’s more accessible than anyone may think.

We experience art in many forms, whether it’s within the four walls of the Walker, a random alley around town, something playing on our headphones, a show on our watchlist on Netflix or a good book. It’s all a form of expression, an appeal to the senses and a work of art.

Last Sunday, I experienced art with my one-year-old.

We joined four other moms and their kids (all under 18 months old) for a beautiful Sunday afternoon at The Art Room. We had three different activities, which were meant to create sensory play for babies and toddlers through art. The first was painting a canvas tote bag that we could take home and use to brag about our child’s aptitude for creativity. Then we introduced four tubs filled with different scenes, ranging from blocks to grass with construction vehicles to blue water with toads and lily pads. Last, we had some fun with shaving cream. In reality, I spent the better part of that art project trying to keep shaving cream out of Otto’s mouth.

The best and worst part of the day? Otto loves painting … but only on rocks and pavers. I apologized profusely to our teacher for my son using her driveway as his canvas. But he was pretty good at using the paintbrush.

All in all, I reminded myself that creating art is all about foregoing self-censorship and being completely in the moment, something that babies are really good at reminding us of every day.