This Little Miggy Stayed Home: Creating Together + Honoring My Children's Artwork

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Creating Together + Honoring My Children's Artwork

This post is sponsored by Kid Made Modern as part of an ongoing conversation about fostering creativity in children. Other posts in this series include 5 tips for creating an art closet for kids, fostering creative expression through style, and I'll stop the world and make with you--DIY sticker books. I am so thankful to work with wonderful sponsors here on This Little Miggy as it allows me to continue to make great content. Thank you for supporting sponsors here and as always, all opinions are my own.
When my oldest daughter was 3 she would draw the most interesting, intricate roller coaster drawings.  They were amazing! I would give her big sheets of paper to let her create these designs over and over again. I had the thought that I should let her draw on a canvas so that I could use her drawing as a starting point for a collaborative painting. But I never did it. To this day I kick myself for not following through on that instinct. Years later I had the same idea with Lamp and once again I kick myself for not following through on that instinct as well.

This past year I finally learned my lesson and I DID follow through on this idea with Zuzu and our painting turned out amazing. I absolutely love it. She loves it.

The process was simple enough and while I did it with oil paint, it would be easy to replicate this idea with watercolors or even acrylic paint (although you would have to be careful not to cover up the drawing completely with acrylics.)
For our oil painting I gessoed a piece of heavy water color paper, and once it was dry I asked her to draw on it with a charcoal pencil. Again, use what you have! Ask your child to do this on watercolor paper with a regular pencil. (If you want this to be a special piece you may want to splurge on some large cold-pressed watercolor paper. At the very least, make sure you get thick watercolor paper in a bigger-than-usual size... trust me, the bigger the piece the more impressive it is.)

Once she was finished, I mounted the paper to a board and I lightly rubbed her drawing down with English distilled turpentine (this makes it stick to the paper without wiping away.)
And then I painted. I tried hard to keep her lines visible, while also making something interesting and cohesive.

In the end this is what we created.
I love it.
Zuzu loves it.
And we both love that we made this together. It's special to her and to me.

One of the reasons I love working with Kid Made Modern is that they are serious about fostering creativity in kids. Their art and craft supplies are kid appropriate yet high quality. Trust me, if kids have some terrible watercolors that barely show up on paper with cheap brushes that scratch the paper more than paint it, they're not going to want to create. My personal favorites are the arts and crafts library, their brush library (sometimes I borrow these), and their wondrous watercolor kit that comes with watercolors (the best set), brushes and paper.

Over the course of this series I've talked about keeping art supplies on hand for easy access for kids to create when the inspiration strikes, letting children experiment with their style and of course dropping everything to make something with your kids. Another way to foster creativity in our children is to honor what they create. One of the ways I honor my children's creativity and their work is by displaying it in our home. (And since I can't display everything I also have an art box for each of my girls where they can store their most prized masterpieces.)

While there's nothing wrong with putting your child's work on the fridge with a magnet, I would like to encourage you to take it to the next level. Select some of your children's artwork and frame it, then display it. Hang it up in your gallery wall, next to other artwork in your home, family photos or even on a wall of their own.

Having their art displayed in your home will tell your kids that what they create is important and that it is good. It will give them confidence. And with that confidence they will keep creating and they will know that what they create--their voice--is important and it is worth sharing. We all know that we don't just grow up and magically, suddenly have confidence and a voice. Those things must be cultivated and nurtured. And the more we do that with our kids when they are young, the more natural it will feel to build off the foundation as they grow.

What better way to tell our kids, and for me my girls, that they deserve to take up space in this world than by letting their work take up space in our home?

I'd like to hear from you--do you believe in honoring your children's work, art or otherwise? Do you also hang your children's work in your home? If you haven't before now, do you think you might? One of the reasons I feel so passionately about this is that I know it would have meant the world to me as a kid, when I was a passionate and budding artist. Would it have meant a lot to you as a kid? Please, I'd love to hear your thoughts! 


  1. One of my favorite ideas was a "dinosaur" chalk drawing my brother made. My mom framed it but also transferred the picture to a needlepoint cloth and made a needlepoint pillow. That brother is now 50 and the picture still hangs in my parents home and the pillow on their guest bed.

    1. Aw, I love that idea! And how cool that they still have the picture and the needlepoint.