Soccer. Swim lessons. Piano. Play dates. Homework. More soccer. T-ball. Ballet. School science fairs. Spanish. French. Sign language. More play dates.
We’ve heard that there are only 24-hours in the day, but with the schedules our families keep — filled with extra-curricular, on the move, pack-something-into-every-moment fun — we’re certain that there must be more. There literally isn’t enough time in the day or the week or a lifetime to fit in all of the activities that our well-rounded kids love to do…or enough time for us to drive them to each one, for that matter!
While these new online art classes and art apps won’t solve all of your problems (sadly, they won’t do the grocery shopping for you, no matter how hard you try!), they will help you fit some creative time in for the young budding artists in your house, and, the best part — you won’t have to run across town to do so!
Apps: Draw Something
Stop hogging the iPad, Mom! Let your kids get their creative side out with a little Draw Something action. After all, you’re already addicted to it and hiding in the bathroom to play just one more round, right? This popular app is a fun way to let your kiddos get some technology-meets-art time in, as well as allowing them to connect with other “artists” like grandparents, cousins, and friends. In the likeness of Pictionary, Draw Something goes back and forth between two people, allowing one person to draw, while the other person guesses. It’s interactive, typically age appropriate (you may need to help them figure out a word or two here and there) and perfect for kids who can read. Also, it’s ideal for on-the-go — doctor appointment running late? Stuck in traffic? Downtime between soccer games? Yes, yes, and yes.
Find it: You can download Draw Something from the app store on your favorite smart phone or tablet — it’s available on most versions.
Buy it: Draw Something is available for free, as well as for purchase for $2.99, which gets you an ad-free version. Since this app is geared towards adults, as are the ads, we suggest breaking the bank for the upgrade.
Tips: Pick up a stylus for your little artist to use, rather than their finger. Not only will it improve the quality of their drawings, but it will keep their sticky fingers off of your iPad screen!
Downloadable Programs: Crayola Art Studio
Our kids already love their crayons and now their favorite drawing tools are going online with the Crayola Art Studio. Perfect for kids who are starting to be comfortable, or who already are pros, at navigating the computer, Art Studio is a good introductory program to expand their artistic side. We especially love that you can set up the screen with the features and tools that apply to the skill-level of your kiddo — adding in some fun buttons for older, more experienced artists, and keeping it simple for newer ones. Don’t forget to stalk up on ink cartridges — there’s going to be a whole lot of printing going on!
Find it: Head to Amazon, where you can choose to purchase the program to be mailed to your home (via CD) or, download it straight from Amazon onto your computer. Art Studio is available for PC only.
Buy it: Both versions — the CD and the download — are approximately $20 via Amazon.
Tips: If they’re loving Art Studio, make the upgrade to Crayola Creative Studio ($33), which integrates the same features, plus animation, watercolors, the ability to make invitations and cards and more.
Online Classes: Thrive Online Art Classes
In what began as a Kickstarter campaign, Thrive Online Art Classes are now revolutionizing both the way that kids take art classes (the lesson is online, but your kids draw on, gasp, paper!) and the way that online programs for kids are approached. Each 30-minute lesson is lead by Thrive founder, Theresa Harris, a mom of two, who leads kids ages 3 and up through the step-by-step drawing process. Our favorite part of each video is the way that Thrive makes them so well-rounded — there is background and real photographs of the drawing that they are about to create (for example, what are float planes anyway?) and classical music playing in the background of the video to keep them stimulated during the coloring portion of the lessons.
Find it: Online at thriveart.com — all lessons can be done using a laptop, desktop computer, smart phone or tablet
Buy it: A membership that includes unlimited access to the lessons is $80 (until the end of April 2013, when the price goes up to $100). We love that your kids are going to want to do each lesson over and over again — to try a new technique on their float plane or castle drawing, or to use different colors. These six lessons are going to take your kids much further than the week it will take them to work through them!
Tips: Jump online and check out the free class before signing up!
Tip for Parents: Channel Your Inner Artist
We promise not to tell. Grab your own supplies and join your kiddo in these lessons and apps… if they’ll share! Not only is this an awesome way to fit in some quality time with your kids when they’re least expecting it, but there is something so soothing about creating art, which we all could benefit from, right? We shouldn’t have to remind you to keep to yourself while you’re working alongside your little one — no unsolicited suggestions! Let them be and focus on your own creation. It’s pretty likely that your 8-year old’s is going to be way better than your own anyway!
What is your little artist’s favorite way to be creative?
— Katie Kavulla
photos courtesy of Draw Something website, Crayola Art Studio website, & Thrive facebook page