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Monday, December 22, 2014

Oh, Sister

Posted by William on February 25, 2011

Families often worry about sibling rivalry, but what do we do to encourage sibling cooperation? These are just a few art-oriented suggestions for children to pursue together, with your supervision. Be sure to point out their cooperative efforts.

Model it
Children love modeling clay. Try a different color or texture, or a clay that will air-dry and can be painted. Children of all ages experiment and create with the clay in their own ways and at their own skill levels. And conversation is inevitable while they work.

Dot paints are a great alternative for younger ones and are available in primary, pastel and fluorescent colors. Older children can draw a picture for their younger siblings to color. For variety, include a set of washable markers and encourage the kids to explore the difference between paints and markers.

Design a bouquet
Nature’s bounty can make a stunning bouquet or centerpiece. Children decide what to do, and decorate an appropriate container, such as a recycled milk carton or basket. Take a treasure hunt to find leaves, Queen Anne’s lace, teasels –whatever grows wild, in your garden or at the market. Then artistically fill the container with nature’s beauty.

Face Painting
Turn your afternoon into a carnival with a simple face-painting kit. The wonderful thing about face painting is that everyone can do it, and kids love whatever you draw on their faces. Older kids can paint on younger ones (read the label on the kit). If you’re not comfortable with that, have them “tattoo” a hand or arm, or be a hero and face-paint the neighborhood kids.

Visit a museum
Older children delight in being tour guides. After a school trip to an exhibit, ask your older child to plan a shorter, similar visit for younger siblings. Talk about what a brother or sister might want to see, how they could prepare and how to follow up (try similar art materials, for example). Leadership reinforces the older child’s learning, too!

Prepare a meal
Suggest that children prepare a simple, healthy meal. Help them decide who will do what, from the shopping list to cleanup chores. Urge children to use their imaginations: make fruit salad faces, sailboat-shaped sandwiches and veggie strip fringe. There may be a chef in your family!
Whatever children do together, be sure to highlight their cooperative efforts and avoid any hint of competition. Your comments set the tone: “It’s so much fun to do this with each other!” “That pine cone is so prickly, and the apple is so shiny. Don’t they look beautiful together!”

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