Art Ideas for the Single Dad


Dave a Single Dad from Phoenix, Arizona writes. . .Dear Art Teacher
on the Net, Please help!  I am a part time father of 3 girls ages
5, 11, and l4.  My 5 year old is a very happy well adjusted and 
creative child and would rather spend her time with me drawing, paint-
ing or maybe just making something out of toothpicks than going to
the park or movies or the things that Dads seem to do with their 
The problem is that art in general and art that kids would enjoy is
just not my field!
I am TOTALLY lost when it comes to thinking up things to do with a
5 year old child.  I have tried all the computer programs to the tune
of hundreds of dollars, but with her it's just not the same as 
creating something with Dad. . . . . . .Thanks.

THANK you Dave, your question has inspired me to create a site devoted
to Single Parents.  You sound like a great father!  What a tribute 
to you that you have create an environment of fun in your quality 
art time together.  Your letter illustrates the importance of doing
art together.  Children love the time spent with a loving parent, and
children gain confidence in their art and social skills during this
project time.  Let's See-Art Ideas for a 5 year old. . .

Children of this age like lots of hands-on projects that require 
physical activity.  Art projects need to be interesting but not 
too time consuming.  The best projects for her are one's that 
involve you and your positive feedback and reinforcement.

Try the Projects below, and let me know how your daughter likes them.

#1-Father/Daughter Hands Early American Sampler
Trace your hand and your daughter's onto a piece of fabric.  Use 
white tailor's chalk to trace your hands.  After cutting "hands"  from
fabric,  glue hands to a black piece of felt, and fold top of felt over
l" and glue, creating a slip for placing a dowel for hanging.

#2-Many cultures of the world including Africa and Australia engage
in body painting.  Children love this non messy hand and arm body
painting.  First, trace the outline of your daughter's arm and hand
onto white construction paper.  Next, ask her to create designs using
wax crayons.  Outline the arm and hand drawing with wax crayon also.
Now using black or brown water color paints, ask her to paint over
the wax crayon.  You will have an authentic faux tribal arm and hand
painting that can be cut out and glued to a colorful construction
paper, and your daughter has learned the technique of wax resistant

#3-A great inexpensive investment is wooden shapes sometimes known
as "Woodsies," or "Woodl's."  The shapes are wooden circles, squares,
triangles, and ovals of various sizes.  You and your daughter will
enjoy putting the various shapes together to create animals and fun
designs.  The wooden shapes are small enough to be glued together,
painted, and glazed and make great refrigerator magnets, and 
decorative pins.  You can buy magnets and pin backings in the craft

#4-A great project that will take you outdoors is rock painting.
Find an unusual rock and imagine what kind of creature it might be.
Just a little paint and imagination and it comes to life.

#5-Another outdoor project is shadow drawing.  It just takes a piece
of paper and pencil.  Hold the paper under a leaf or interesting
branch shape and just trace the shadow that it makes.

#6-Textural rubbings are also of great interest to children this 
age.  Again, it just requires a sheet of paper, and pencil, and
a hunt for interesting textures.  Just lay the paper onto the 
texture and then use the side of the pencil to create the rubbing.
After several textures are collected ask her to create, cut out 
the rubbings into various shapes and put them together into a
textural drawing.

#7-Speaking of drawing.  One of the fun experiences of childhood
is drawing a parent's face.  It just requires a little patience on
your part as the model.  You can use this exercise to show her that
her face is symmetrical, that her pupils line up with the corners of
her mouth, and the inside of her eyes lineup with the outside of
her nostrils.  She might even be surprised that her earlobes create 
an even line between her nose and mouth.

Good Luck and Keep up the Great Work!