the big draw: encouraging your child's creativity

Sharpen your pencils and whip out your pads - the big draw festival is back for another year. A festival encouraging people of all ages and abilities to unleash their inner artist. The big draw is a small charity host over 1000 events in the UK throughout October, dedicated to the art of drawing and it's emotional, social and mental benefits. Pencil pushing is not the only creative activity to get those motor skills revving and the imagination whirring. Reading, writing, singing and dancing will all provide your child with the correct tools to carve themselves a place in the world.

the big draw festival

what is creativity and how does it benefit your child?

For centuries, humans have been using their creative skills to communicate – from cave drawings and hieroglyphics to the printing press and email. We all have the potential to be creative and babies and children are naturally curious. With every object grabbed and every question asked, they are feeding their imagination and flexing their creative muscles. Watch a child at play and you'll notice how much they love to experiment. For them, creating is about the process rather than the outcome.

Creative play enriches children with skills that will stay with them into adulthood, such as problem-solving, self-expression and adaptability. In a world where children are increasingly inundated with homework, after-school activities and non-stop screens. It is vital to give them time alone to assert their intellectual independence and form their own thoughts and opinions. We've compiled a guide to get those creative juices flowing...

give them space to create

As far as children are concerned, the messier the better! Limit the creative chaos to one area, be it the playroom, garage or kitchen table. Stock up on paper, card, glitter, glue, pencils and paints. Lay down some old newspaper and let the fun begin! By all means stay and supervise, but try not to dictate play; this is their time to experiment with colour, texture and ideas. Encourage aspiring artists to talk about their finished masterpiece, but avoid being too specific with your compliments - you wouldn't want to dent their confidence by mistaking their self-portrait for a hideous monster!

children doing arts and crafts for the big draw

take it outside

Pack some pencils, paper and a picnic, whack on the wellies and get out - outdoors, that is! Nature is rich with sounds, sights and smells to delight the senses, and best of all - it's free! Away from the confines of the classroom, little limbs are free to run, skip and jump as they explore sprawling spaces and revel in the lack of rules. Bring some binoculars and see how many species of bird you can spot. Walk through the woods on an autumnal day and count the colours, or create a colourful tree rubbing with crayons to hang up at home – the possibilities are endless!

child doing some foot painting for the big draw

best ways to display children’s artwork

When it comes to displaying those mini masterpieces, it’s your turn to get creative! Why not draw on some of these tips to transform your living room into an exhibition space:

• Pick up a frame at your local charity shop: mix and match for an eclectic look. Or give a favourite frame a makeover with spray paints and glitter
• Scan and print a photo of your child’s artwork to create a poster or collage. Better yet, pack it off to an online specialist who will do it for you!
• Hang drawings and paintings from threads of twine using coloured pegs. This creates a bunting effect which takes up minimal space and brightens up any room
• Classic wooden clipboards look great on the wall and make it easy to swap your child’s masterpieces in and out
• Magnetic frames are a cool way to display artwork on the fridge; and if you’re feeling brave, you can even customise your own!

creativity is contagious, pass it on

Children love to see others having fun: let them watch as you bake a cake, sing along to the radio or dance around the kitchen. Of course, invite them to join in – they won't be able to resist! Put a playdate in the diary to stretch their social skills, or enlist a family member to get stuck in. I often arrive home from afternoons spent with my nieces, engulfed in glitter and sequins like an Abba tribute act. Bed-times should be full of magic and mischief: leave your sense of dignity at the door, dust-off your best impressions and exaggerate those facial expressions to send them off to sleep with a smile.

Creativity is one of the most generous gifts a child can receive. It cannot be bought from a boutique, nor does it come with a receipt. Instead, as a parent, it is your privilege to inspire your child's creative capabilities and watch as they reap the rewards. So, dig out those dancing shoes and brush up on your bed-time stories - your child needs you!

The big draw runs from October 1st - 31st. If you’d like to find out more or register to take part, click here to visit the website.


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