5 Best Art Ed Books For Young Families
The following 5 books I consider my all-time favorite reads and resources when it comes to modern arts education resources for the very young child. Some of these books you might consider to be more along the lines of "craft books," yet those have a special place among the pedagogy of teaching art to young children, and especially for making art and creativity accessible in the home.
The books in this post are geared towards how to bring arts and creativity into the lives of the very young children (ages 12 months-8 years). It may seem odd to make art-making and creativity a staple in your daily routine with your very young child, however the more opportunities provided for children to explore in a creative manner leads to a deeper connection to the experience at hand, and a deeper connection between parent and child.
Continue reading to discover my choice of the 5 Best Art Ed Books for Young Families (The following contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support):
1. First Art for Toddlers and Twos: Open Ended Art Experiences
by MaryAnn Khol
MaryAnn Kohl has created many wonderful books about creating art experiences specifically designed for the early childhood years. I really love her book on Preschool Art as well as her newest book, Action Art, but I come back her book, First Art over and over again. The projects are open-ended and process based making them perfect for first-time art experiences for the very young.
The best part about First Art for Toddlers and Twos is the extensive understanding it provides for how to offer art to young children. Mary Ann Kohl provides a variety of supply options for each project, plus additions and variations on each project so you can fit the projects to your needs and supplies you have on hand. Whenever I am stuck, or need a different way of approaching a project I look to this book for inspiration. I always know the foundation in art it offers will always delight and engage the children.
2. Young at Art, by Susan Striker
A beautifully chronicled look at the development of the child artist companion with fabulous detailed projects and approaches to teaching art to young children. The content of the book is simple with only line and pencil or pen sketches the writing and the well documented observations of a young child engaging in art activities is one of the best out there for families.
I have found there is no better book to help a family start an art play group than Young at Art. Striker once owned her own art studio and she brings the knowledge she gained from working with children and families on a day to day basis completely to the pages of her book. The book appears dense, however you as you read through the pages you will quickly fall in love with Stiker’s confident voice. Her confidence is uplifting and quickly makes any reader feel more confident about bringing art into the home with young children.
3. The Artful Parent- Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life With Art
by Jean Van’t Hul
If you ask any art educator the question, “who is the modern arts ed guru of the internet world?” they will surely tell you it’s Jean Van’t Hul. A mother, an artist, and arts educator Jean Van’t Hul brings a soft, caring, and loving approach to offering art experiences at home for children. The projects offered in the book increase in depth and complexity with each chapter making it a lovely learning experience for both parent and child.
I love turning to the Artful Parent book when I have a real art question, and when I say “real” I mean a question about a specific art technique, or way to introduce a material, or art concept. The content of the book is so rooted in art education and exploration of art concepts professional artists use in their daily work that it is always certain the information is accurate and helpful. Plus, if you can’t find exactly what you are looking for turning to the Artful Parent blog will most likely have your answer. For fun and creative ways to enjoy seasonal crafts Jean Van’t Hul’s book The Artful Year: Celebrating the Seasons and Holidays with Crafts and Recipes is a lovely compilation of ways to seamlessly incorporate art into your special celebrations.
4. Tinkerlab- A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors by Rachelle Doorley
Another blog to book genius is author Rachelle Doorley and her work with helping families bring more creativity into their lives through her blog Tinkerlab and her Book by the same name. Rachelle Doorley creates a practical guide for families to follow that includes not only art concepts, but concepts surrounding the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) movement and general “tinkering” skills such as her incorporation of tinker trays and creative provocations. A mix of modern inventive concepts mixed with process-art based projects and a little Reggio Emilia child development pedagogy mixed in Rachelle Doorley’s book provides an incredible deeper dive into helping your children discover, learn, and grow in their creativity.
In addition to creating the book and blog, Rachelle Doorley has also created an incredible online course The Art Habit which helps families create their own art experiences at home. We participated in the Art Habit and found the projects and guidance incredibly beneficial. The tips and tricks shared assisted in our own methods of art-making at home increasing our overall family experience when making art together.
5. The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination & Nurture Family Connection by Amanda Blake Soule
Amanda Blake Soule is another Blog to Book Creative with her ever-popular blog Soule Mama. Her book, The Creative Family was one of the first books I read as a new mother about incorporating more creativity into my life and home. Amanda Blake Soule shares the rhythm of her home life that enables her children and her to fill their days and lives with what seems like endless creativity. She shares in the pages of her book how her family sets up their creative time together centering much of their children’s learning around creative endeavors. This book is much less of a step by step art project guide, and more of a way to develop an overall approach to living more creatively with your family. Her other books Handmade Home and The Rhythm of a Family further dive into the arts and crafts making her family incorporates, as well as more detail about how they create overall flow of their family life.
These five books have become so much more than just books. They have become beacons of guidance and support over the years as I have brought more creativity into my own family life. I hope you too will find the resource and support you are looking for among these pages as well.
I feel it is important to mention that the above books are my own personal selection (aka I have not been paid to share these books with you), and there are just so many amazing books out there for creating art with young children like anything by Bev Bos, however these 5 have been my personal favorites that I have gone back to again and again since I became a parent. It's one thing to teach children art in a school or youth program it's a whole different type of skill-set to bring that art making into the home with your own children. I hope find this selection helpful and insightful on your creative parenting journey. xx Julia
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