5 ways to encourage an older child to be artistic

older child artist

Little children often delight in their art don’t they?  Showing it off proudly, insisting it is stuck to the fridge and adoring making everyone’s birthday and Christmas cards. They wade into play dough with abandon and glitter is their best friend.

What happens to that belief in themselves as an artist?

My children are now 8 and 11 (I know, quite how did that happen!) and somewhere along the line they have lost a little creativity. I could (and do) blame the UK school system that does not seem to value art and crafts very highly and pours huge swathes of energy into grammar and maths and passing SATS instead.

But I do also blame myself. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed with squeezing the very most out of life and sometimes forget to give my kids what they need in order to be creative. I have tried to grab that back this summer holidays and so hear are my top 5 ways to encourage an older child to be artist

1.  Inspire them

Children need to see that art has many forms and styles and just because they cannot do an exact replica of something they are looking at this does not make them ‘useless’ or rubbish’ show them Van Gogh and Cezanne , show them Kandinsky and Franz marc, art has room for all sorts of representations swirls, colours, shapes and visions. let them know great art is all about how THEY see not faithful copying.  Art galleries and art books are really useful ways to convey these messages. true art is all all about individual style and expression.


Franz Marc

2. Give them the good materials

Children need fresh reams of paper, a box of recycled craft material, glue sticky tape, scissors, felt tips , pens , clay and a place to create. Tools don’t have to cost a fortune but I would suggest that nice quality drawing and art tools  with lovely storage really encourage kids to be creative and keeps their art materials accessible and in good order.

We have been reviewing the colour and painting set from Faber-Castell packed full of lovely pencils that can be turned into watercolours. All contained in the lovely tin and so easy to take put and about (it even has a paint pot in it!)


jumbo grip


Gorgeous felt tips too are a must. Older kids are often not content with poor quality pens. These 50 pens in a connector bucket are just lovely  and the kids began drawing with them as soon as they arrived. The colour are bright and strong and the pens are robust and fun to connect together. It’s amazing what a good set of felt tips does for a child’s keenness to draw.

felt tips

birds and bees


3. Give them physical space to be creative

How annoying is it to be in the middle of a wonderful project and someone make you clear it all away because either its time for tea or they want to vacuum, agggh so frustrating. Children need to be give space to be creative and room for their project.

Ignore the mess if you can it is all part of the artistic process and you wouldn’t want to interrupt that would you?

4. Give them a variety of mediums

Art does not have to mean drawing or painting and as children go and can be trusted not to eat the clay or smear glue in their hair now is the time to let them be with such materials and  to get creative and sticky!

It’s fun no matter what your age!

We recently trialled some Faber-Castell modelling clay and had so much fun creating butterflies and bird and even family members.

modelling clay

Modelling clay sound so much more grown up than playdough doesn’t it, so older children may be more willing to embrace it We had a great time and we re delighted with our creation!

How about knitting or sewing to encourage their artistic development or even pot painting or printing on fabrics?  Using a variety of medium adds levels of new interest and children will invariably  find some appeal more than others so it is well worth mixing it up.

5. Get involved yourself

If you show your children  that you as an adult find art interesting and absorbing too it takes away the connotations that it is too childish for them.  Why don’t you go out together spotting street art, watch you-tube tutorials together and try them out.  I bet when they were little you painted with them a lot and often got the craft bits and bobs out? Well take the time and trouble to re-engage with them through art right through their development and keep it crafty.


Hope these ideas help and your child remains an artist forever.


All these beautiful, quality Faber-Castell products featured are available from Amazon and www.stonegift.com



  1. Polka Dot Family
    August 14, 2015 / 2:22 pm

    Great tips Becky, I love the Faber-Castell colour and painting set something to inspire the most unartistic person
    Polka Dot Family recently posted..Pregnancy – it’s not like this in the booksMy Profile

  2. August 14, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    Brilliant tips Becky!

    Bethan is 12 and loves art although she doesn’t think she’s very good at it. Her teacher says the complete opposite and thinks she’s brilliant but she’s still never satisfied with what she does and rarely finishes a piece unless it’s a set piece of work for school.

    She used to draw for fun but now she thinks about it too much so I definitely need to take some of your advice and get her to enjoy it again x x
    Cass@frugalfamily recently posted..Five Frugal things I’ve done this week to save money {14th August 2015}….My Profile

  3. August 15, 2015 / 10:58 am

    poor ronnie doens’t get an option with me i love a good colouring, painting, making session. i’ve always been like it. i guess it why i do what i do for a living, making stuff that is! great products featured more to add to the collection!
    HPMcQ recently posted..camp bestival 2015 – our favourites part 2My Profile

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