Wait a minute. Don't freak out. I'm not suggesting we control our child's every artistic impulse, but just say there's one occasion you're hoping your youngest creates a masterpiece for the living room—is it really so wrong for their painting to be nudged gently in a particular direction? Here are a few tips on how to help your child paint something you don't just plan to hang on the fridge:
1. Start with better quality materials. Head to an art supply store and grab some better paint and better paper. Especially better paper. Or a canvas, even. Crayola poster paper or the equivalent will look grey or yellow over time. And if your child is using watercolors, buy some heavyweight watercolor paper which will properly soak up the amount of liquid that will be laid onto it.
2. Guide their color palette. Looking for something that matches the playroom rug? There's no shame in that—just this one time, only lay out the colors that would result in the palette of artwork you are looking for.
3. Try a technique that creates a bold design. Use marbles (above). Use giant brushes. Use large sponges. Stamp large, painted geometric shapes. Paint a whole lot on one side, fold the paper and squish the paint onto the other side. Make spin art using an old salad spinner (above). Bold is great! If your kids seem nervous to get in there and make art, sit down with them and get messy yourself, too.
4. Frame it! Nothing says classy art like a classy frame. No need to spend big. If your family is all about the glam, fantastic frames can often be found lurking in the bargain bin at your local thrift store. If your house leans more towards the modern/minimalist end of the spectrum, the RIBBA frames at IKEA will do the trick.
With these four tips in hand, and one creative kid, I would say you're just about ready to create a modern masterpiece. So what are you waiting for? Go get painting!
(Image credits: Celeste Sunderland; readers James & Lisa; Nina/Swanky Swell; Let the Children Play; Celeste Sunderland)