Entertaining Children with Art While Social Distancing
Crises reveal to us the fundamental truths of life, such as inequalities, class struggles and conflicts between our public and private existences. We should keep in mind that many middle- and upper-middle-class professionals are relatively safe at home, while frontline workers and working-class people continue to risk their lives on the front lines.
Our daily realities have been disrupted by the pandemic in many other ways, including school closures that have left children confined at home. Parents may be struggling to cope with children who – unable to attend school, see their friends, or play outside – may be feeling angry, melancholic, or simply stir-crazy. During this time, we should keep in mind the role literature, arts, and culture can play in maintaining our well-being.
One way parents can entertain kids at home during the time of the pandemic is by incorporating art and imaginative play to daily life.
Apart from regular drawing, painting and craft making, kids can be encouraged to imagine, as if creating a story, how their adult lives might turn out to be. They can draw themselves as an adult in the attire of their chosen career or draw a place where they might want to live.
They can be encouraged to imagine and design a city, filled with houses, parks, playgrounds, trees and swimming pools. Or, they could design an imaginary business. Parents can ask them to decide what the business would sell or what service it would provide and then have them draw what the company’s sign might look like. In general, children should be encouraged to imagine without limits, rules or restrictions and to draw or paint to make abstract ideas into tangible art.
Another fun activity is making art with sidewalk chalk. You can, for example, crush the chalk and dissolve it in water, then use a brush to paint sidewalks or your driveway. You may also try using masking tape to make a design on the sidewalk or pavement. The kids can chalk inside the taped area with different colored chalk. Removing the tape will then create a stained-glass effect. These activities have the added benefit of allowing children to have some time outdoors and to get some Vitamin D that they may be lacking.
Finally, you can encourage children to paint a portrait of their grandparents, cousins or other relatives and gift the work of art to them. This will create a special bond between family members, even from distance. On coping with separation from her family, artist Christina Klein says, “Since I'm living so far from my family and don't know when I'll see them again, I started doing a portrait series of family I miss.” Other activities to keep your kids engaged and emotionally healthy include gardening, cooking, reading, watching YouTube videos to learn skills they love, and doing chores.
Brinda Pamulapati, owner/managing director, of Venvi Art Gallery in Tallahassee, can be reached at (850) 322-0965 or visit www.VenviArtGallery.com