Many thanks to oil painter and Cow Art and More artist Linda Blondheim for sharing this personal commentary. When my two daughters were young, we did a lot of fun projects. Naturally, I wanted them to respect and enjoy art. Though neither of them were interested in art as a career, they both respect and value original art as young adults. I buy small original paintings for them from artists I admire every year. I am helping them to build a collection of original paintings which they will enjoy in their own homes some day after their apartment days are past.
When they were little, stations were a popular teaching method in elementary school. I borrowed that idea for their home environment and it worked really well. I set up small tables around the room for various art activities. Examples are, crayons and color books at one, modeling clay at another, jewelry making, watercolor painting, tempera painting,markers and paper. These little stations were entirely separate. The easy way to do them is with the wooden TV eating tables placed against the wall around the room. You can put up a dry erase board for a station too.
Another great station is a library of art books for kids, which gives them an interest and love for art history. Bean bag chairs and a small shelf in a corner can make a cozy art station for reading and looking at famous artists paintings.
The next step is a limit to their activities at the stations. This keeps their interest level high and makes art a reward for them, something special that they will look forward to.
Make a specific art time weekly or daily and limit it to an hour or two depending on their age and maturity. Use a kitchen timer and set it for various intervals for each station, 5 minutes for small tykes, 20-30 minutes for older kids. When the timer goes off, they rotate to the next art station. They must put their materials away and straighten up before moving to the next station. (Mom or Dad can help) After they have spent their allotted time at the stations for the day, reward them with popcorn and a movie. Don't allow them at stations unless it is preplanned and supervised. This should be something of a reward and a special treat.
You can do lots of fun station projects with food, like making prints with fish or potatoes or other vegetables. Kids really love this. Your fish monger will have a fish with head and tale on to make prints and they are really cool. Paint or ink the surface of the fish. Flip over onto paper and peal the paper off to have fish prints.
Cut a potato in half, Carve away sections and ink what is left. Stamp it on paper for cool prints.
Make art fun for your children and they will grow up to appreciate culture and refinement in their lives.