eBook Review – Art not Craft: The Process of Learning Creatively (and a giveaway, too!)

The following review is by contributor Catherine Way of Adventures With Kids.

Have you ever wished you had some new ideas for art experiences beyond playdough, drawing with crayons and painting on an easel?

Do you ever wish art wasn’t so messy and time consuming?

Have you ever wondered how to motivate your young child to get involved in art experiences?

This giveaway has now closed.  The winner will be announced soon.

The ebook – Art not Craft: The Process of Learning Creatively – can help with all these questions and more. The book, written by parenting blogger and early childhood educator, Christie Burnett of Childhood 101, is full of ideas to inspire you to look at, talk about and make art with your child.

Art experiences are important for young children.  Creating art involves sensory stimulation that develops brain connections important for learning.  Creating art helps children organise and communicate their thoughts, solve problems and develops their motor skills.

We all want our children to grow into intelligent socialised adults who make a meaningful contribution to their society. We put a lot of thought, time and effort into ensuring they develop academically, socially and even physically, but often put much less emphasis on their creative development.

Photo by Childhood 101

The Art not Craft ebook makes the process of setting up and trying new art experiences with your child so easy that there is no excuse to neglect this important area of early learning.

The book gives age appropriate project ideas and ways to vary materials to create new experiences in

  • drawing
  • painting
  • collage
  • printmaking, and
  • sculpture.

The book focuses on helping you use and introduce the materials to your child.  This leaves you and your child plenty of space to be creative with the method and materials and create your own unique and wonderful products.

There are also suggestions for talking with your child as they make different types of art – helping you avoid that awkward “It’s not a bowl, it’s an upside down turtle” experience.  And there are suggestions for seeing and exploring the work of other artists in books, at the art gallery and in day-to-day life.

I love doing art projects with my children (despite the mess).  I find it calms them and me and we get a great chance to talk as we are creating.  Art not Craft has inspired me with many new ways to use the materials we already have, and the confidence to explore a bit more with some art materials I’m less familiar with like clay or watercolour paints.

It is always wonderful to share art experiences with your child. You will be fascinated at how creative they are and can gain amazing insight into their world view through sharing art experiences together.  If you are hesitant to do creative art projects with your child, I encourage you to get this book and get started making art.

Head here for more information about Art not Craft or to purchase the ebook. The retail price is $15.95 USD.  Simple Kids readers can use the code ‘KIDS’ at the checkout to receive a $3 discount.

The Giveaway

Three lucky Simple Kids readers will win a copy of Art not Craft.

To Enter

Simply leave a comment on this post answering the question: What do you like or dislike about creating art with your child?

We will draw the names of three winners from those who leave a comment and they will be emailed a link to download Art not Craft. This giveaway will end at Midnight EST on Saturday May 21, 2011. Good Luck! This giveaway has now closed.  Thank you!

About Catherine

Catherine Way is mum to two boys living in North Australia. They read lots, run lots, love to learn new things and are good at finding fun and mischief. Catherine blogs about her family adventures and passion for lifelong learning at Indirect Observations.

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  1. Chelsea says:

    What I like most about art at this age: watching how very differently my twins approach the same media. My daughter makes small, finely controlled marks with paintbrush, pen, crayon, or marker. My son makes huge strokes, often covering a paper in whatever he has at his disposal. After the art is done, I love hearing what it is . . . I think they aren’t sure themselves until it’s completed.

    What I don’t like: dry erase markers stain. Paint drips all over my deck. Crayons are all broken. I must constantly check the organizer/clean-it-up side of my personality and let the kids rule :)

  2. I’ve always been a creative person. So is my husband. We both have music and theatre backgrounds. I also have my “crafty” streaks. What a great idea to develop new ways to introduce art and materials to kids. I can’t wait to read this!

  3. Art is one of my favorite things to do with my kids. I love watching their creative process and am always on the lookout for new ideas!

  4. Christina P says:

    I love the way he concentrates on what he’s doing, like he’s getting paid for it. He’s so intense, it’s great! I just don’t like the mess :)

  5. I like everything about creating art with kids! I like to see them enjoying the process, learning something new (or doing it again) & being excited about what they’re doing. I like it when they come up with something different than I planned. Always makes it interesting!
    Stacy´s latest post: Carrabba’s Find your Pasta Personality

  6. I love their creativity but what I dislike is the long-term mess. They never want to be done with the project so I let them leave it out for a couple more days but then it just turns into a mess.

  7. What do I like the least and the most about making art with my children.
    I like the clean up the least and I love everything else, especially when we have the time a space for following our creative urges.

  8. Trish White says:

    I love everything about doing art with my girls and how excited they get when we get out the paint!!

  9. I don’t like when I’ve set up something a little complicated for him – and he creates for 2 minutes or less. Argh!

  10. I love seeing and hearing them share their art with others. Gives them such confidence!

  11. I like watching them have fun and tell stores about what they are creating. I don’t like it so much when the project is done too quickly because I can’t always think of something else for them to do.

  12. I love how excited my boys are to have a “project” to work on. I love seeing how hte older one encourages the little one. I love that when I’m creating with them, one of them almost always says, “You’re doing a good job, Mommy!”

    I hate that approximatly 38 seconds after finishing any given project, they are asking for another, different project to work on. Sometimes Mommy needs help cleaning up the last mess before making a new one!

  13. I love creating with my daughter because I love to see what she comes up with and she’s open to trying new projects!

  14. I love seeing my 2-year-old just trying a lot of different things and exploring with his hands….I must admit I am not crazy about the messes that also come along with it, but am looking forward to warmer weather which means lots of art outside (which I am GREAT with!!!) Would LOVE a copy of this book – thanks!

  15. I love to see all the creative things my son makes and the stories that go along with them. I don’t like that he can be done with an art project in 5 minutes when it takes longer to set it up and clean up!

  16. I love watching my children create. The things that go through their minds constantly amaze me. I’m not a big fan of the messes created.

  17. nopinkhere says:

    I have trouble with the open-ended-ness. I’m much better if we’re doing a craft with a relatively specific end result in mind.

  18. I love how proud my preschoolers are of their artwork and how excited they are to take it home and share it with their family. I also enjoy the process of art and seeing the unique outcome of each child. Their personalities shine through their artwork and it is a beautiful expression. I love messy and creative art. I love painting with noodles, feet, and much more!

  19. I dislike the mess and how quickly my boys “move on” to the next adventure. It takes more time to prep & set up!! But I love sharing a moment of creation and expression.
    Lynne @ Our Happy Home´s latest post: Brendan Turns SIX

  20. First of all, the book looks great! I love that there are lots of big, colorful pictures. As for art with my own kids, it’s fun and crazy at times, yet frustrating and time-consuming at other times. But the end result is always amazing and really shows their personalities. My 5 year old is in full-force arts & crafts mode every single day and I love seeing what amazing creations he comes up with. My 2 year old seems to just like to draw on any surface available!
    Sarah Creighton´s latest post: Vegetable Flatbread

  21. I like being surprised by what my child creates and hearing the words he uses to explain what he has created. What I don’t like is getting so excited about providing a creative outlet or experience, taking the time to set it up, and then having him lose interest after 30 seconds.

  22. Melodie says:

    I do love to create art with Anne. But I get bored with doing the same things over and over again. To get new ideas would be great.

  23. kimberly says:

    What I love and have a bit of a hard time with is letting my son create in his way with no direction from me…love that I can do it but my inner control freak struggles…what a great give a way!

  24. I love the blog childhood 101! And I’d love this book!

    I really enjoy creating art with my kids. But lately I seem to get frustrated when the inevitable huge mess is made. And the the creating comes to a sudden negative end. I hate that! I’m hoping I can improve in that area.
    Kiasa´s latest post: Little Explorers- Color Mixing w-paint

  25. I pretty much like everything about crafting with my girlies! We always have our art supplies out, and my daughters are used to doing a little bit of something every day. It’s actually hard for me to do our school work somedays…thankfully, you can learn a lot from creating! Would LOVE to win this! :)
    brookiej´s latest post: 3×5 Folded Card

  26. I love the blog, childhood 101. And I’d love a copy of the book.

    Generally I really enjoy creating art with my kids. But lately, for some reason, I get upset and end all activities once the inevitable huge mess hits. I really don’t like that I end, something the kids are enjoying, on a bad note.

  27. Love how creative they get, but really need some new ideas. Would love this book to help us out. I’m not an “artistic person” but would love for my kids to be exposed to more great ideas.

  28. The mess is definitely the worst part, because the best place to create is on our kitchen table! I always end up doing the bulk of the cleanup, usually right before (or sometimes during!) the dinner hour, the most hectic part of my day. Bleh.
    Shannon @ AnchorMommy´s latest post: My two year anniversary!

  29. I like seeing what my kids will come up with on their own without me directing them.

  30. What I love about doing art with my kids: seeing their creativity and imaginations at work, having them explore different mediums, they love art, letting them be free to create how they want to-letting go of my control and perfectionistic personality for a bit and let them be free.
    What I don’t like: the inevitable mess-the WORST!

  31. We’ve done art since the first one could hold a crayon and make marks on paper at about 10 months. (Unless you count pudding paint, when she could sit up and smear it on the high chair tray…I digress.) I love to see them create. What’s not to like?

  32. I love seeing my kids create things. I don’t love the huge piles of creations I have sitting on an upstairs desk! 😉 I hate throwing it all away, but I don’t know what to do with it all and it’s becoming clutter.
    Cori´s latest post: Motherhood Should Come With …

  33. I LOVE watch my kids create. I LOVE to get messy with them. And they make me proud to see how much they learn while having fun!

  34. ShuChingLin says:

    What do you like or dislike about creating art with your child?
    I like: looking at my kid’s little hands doing something unique
    watching his eyes when he is thinking how/what to do
    enjoying the moment we play together, laugh aloud
    he goes back to see his art work and introduces me his idea ( he said he painted a red car, but I really can not get it :) )

    I dislike: when the project is into the end, I need to think about the next project
    I still enjoy watching him doing the project, but he wanna stop.
    Clean the mess!!

  35. Miranda says:

    I love hearing my son describe what he has created.

  36. My least favorite part is that I feel like I always end up being uptight about something or other throughout the process. :(I am working on relaxing and just letting them have fun, and sometimes I can, but not always. I also dislike setting a whole bunch of stuff up, and then the kids not being interested it at all.

    BUT, I really do like when they have a great time and make cool things together. It’s such a fun bonding moment.

  37. Rebecca says:

    I love how excited my kids get over a project and how they approach it differently due to their ages (2 and 4) and interests. I however, don’t always enjoy they mess (have to admit sometimes it’s fun to clean up with the kids “helping”)

  38. Tiffany says:

    I love to see the surprises in her creations…. Sometimes I underestimate her ability and she surprises me with brilliant creations. What do I dislike? Sometimes the mess but mainly arguing with her about her wanting to do “adult” parts ( ie cooking, cutting etc).

  39. If I’m being honest I’m scared of art with the kids. But I love to watch them draw pictures and especially to see how their pictures change as they get older. I remember the day my oldest first drew a person and it looked like a person!

  40. Anastasiia says:

    I like it because it keeps my son busy and because he always makes something that I don’t expect. For example, we can start with painting with ribbons and we very easily can end up with painting with cookie cutters or apples. What I don’t like is that it is very difficult to get art supplies in the place where I stay and that I can spend hours and days preparing for certain activity and it will take couple minutes for my son to complete and tell me “Finish”.

  41. Megan shipley says:

    Well, what I don’t enjoy about doing art is I am not creative and feel like an idiot a lot of times while trying. I don’t mind the mess so much. I think arts & crafts are important for children but this has always been my weakest area. But we did bubble art last week with great success. Very happy! (very messy!)

  42. Kara D. says:

    I am all science and math. I hate doing art with my kids. My daughter is all art. That’s what she needs, that’s what she craves. What guilt there is with this! I hate all the mess and patience as she painstakingly deals in tiny details. Yet I love her pride in her accomplishments. So I do art. And I am always looking for great ideas and instructions. How do I do this? What do I need? And how do I guide her?

  43. I like when my 2 year old and 3 year old inspire each other with their art. They are learning how to share materials and the older one is teaching the younger one how to do things (like use scissors). It’s great to watch them bond and they have something to post on the refrigerator afterwards.

  44. I love watching my boys creating with all kinds of art media but I must admit I don’t like the cleaning up or trying to store all of their lovely creations.
    Aussie Mum´s latest post: Playing with shaving foam

    • I find what works great is I take a picture of them holding the art work. Then I don’t feel bad throwing it away after a week or two on display. I do keep some, but only a small amount. I always have the picture of the child holding the artwork to look back on.

  45. I love watching my twins figure out what can be done with new art supplies. Their curiosity and imagination is amazing. I love to see the freedom they use to express themselves.

  46. I love that you can see their personalities though their art. Each child is different. I love that you can help build their self confidence by letting them know it’s ok that the outcomes are different from another sibling because they are their own person. And nothing beats the look on a child’s face as they show you their PERFECT work of art!

  47. Julia Kimball says:

    Right now art is extremely limited. My son is only 4 months old! I have made some stationary with him, letting him hold a paintbrush in his hand, guiding it to the paper, and then letting his hand go wherever it wants! I can hardly wait for the stage when he can do more, although I am enjoying his tiny baby stage, too!
    I can see how I will dislike the disorganization that comes with doing arts and crafts with little ones. I love for things to be neat and tidy, and that is not always the case with children. I need to start working on that now!

  48. I like how my kids think in ways that surprise me! I love the process, the time creating, the delight in the finished product. I don’t even mind the clean up. :)

  49. Heather says:

    I love how creative my kids can be at such a young age, but I definitely have a hard time with the messes we make when painting.


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