My children need this. Need. :)
Today we have Nicole of Little Birdie Art with us! Nicole owns an art studio for kids, and is the creator of Daisy Dough—all natural, totally safe modeling dough for your little ones. And we are giving away some of her wonderful Daisy Dough! The package will include three different vibrant colors in air-tight 4oz jars.
Now on to the interview!
BGB: Tell us a little bit about your company.
Nicole: I started my art studio Little Birdie Art with a goal of providing quality open ended art classes to small children with a focus on quality products. When I was researching the children's art products and materials I felt disappointed there was not more information about what “non-toxic” meant, and what that meant to my child and my students.
A close friend of mine (and fellow Mom) had the same concerns and curiosity. So we got together and went into our kitchens to make our own products from only the freshest and natural ingredients. We were making finger paints, modeling dough, crayons and other things just to start. And the success and interest grew so much from using them in our classes that Daisy Dough was born. And rest assured we make wholesome products from our home to little hands.
BGB: Can you share your philosophy on the importance of art for children?
Nicole: Not every community is fortunate enough to have art classes for their children. Especially one that is open ended allowing your children to express themselves freely. This means giving your child many materials to try and to make what they want with it. I believe the experience matters more than the end product.
Here are a few key things to consider…
Let them make a mess:
Children need an opportunity to get messy. So we make a place where they can do just that. We aren’t concerned about the mess and this opens their minds to what they can explore. We tell parents to dress kids in clothes and shoes that no one cares about (anything old and worn out, even Dad’s or Mom’s old t-shirts work). Smocks tend to get in the way. So try and avoid them unless they allow free movement. My advice for parents at home is to make a separate space for it. But an easel at IKEA or a small low table that kids are free to make a mess on. There are splat mats too if necessary.
When kids are small the larger the paper the better. They don’t have the fine motor skills to work in small spaces or on small papers. So we put large butcher paper 5 feet long on the floor and try multiple things there.
Offer little instructions: when we provide instructions we do so minimally and sparse. Only as guidelines that are pertinent and not arbitrary. We want the children to move themselves and not be forced to do so.
We try to avoid giving judgments. Whether the judgment is good or bad it is still an opinion.
So when they ask us if we like their picture we say things like, “I love how you used red and blue to make purple there”, OR “I am so happy you are having such a great time doing art and making this!”.
“It’s NOT about WHAT YOU PAINT
It’s about PAINTING
Parents: Beware too much direction”
Many materials: We put out a lot of different materials out onto many different tables all at the same time. So there are many projects they can choose from in one day. Plus we let the kids spend as much time as they would like on any given project. They decide when it is finished. And sometimes it’s just about them experiencing that material, brush, movement, color, or sensory activity. We are amazed what the children come up with. We keep paints, glitter, and liquid glue out of reach, but still in plain sight. So if it isn’t out, they know it’s there and can ask for it with help.
We get lots of requests! At home, try and have a few recycled storage bins with different materials and supplies at their level to grab and play with.
BGB: How long have you been blogging?
Nicole: For about a year. A newbie! There is so much to learn.
BGB: What inspired you to start a blog?
Nicole: I had found a few blogs out there that I loved to read and started following. So it inspired me to do it. At first it was more about a virtual journal when I started Little Birdie Art and Daisy Dough. But I want to inspire others, especially those with kids and who heart art.
BGB: Are there any blogs you especially enjoy? What are they?
BGB: Thanks so much for joining us today, Nicole! I can't wait to help my little ones get creative!