How often do you pick up a pen and draw? Did you know that drawing – regardless of your level of artistic talent – is an incredibly effective way to tap into your creative and visual thinking reserves? My friend Jeanette Nyberg of Craftwack is a brilliant artist, so when she asked if I wanted to review her new book, Tangle Art & Drawing Games for Kids, I jumped at the opportunity.
My eight-year-old son Johnny adores both abstract art and abstract humor (his favorite part of Inside Out is when the characters walk into the Abstract thought part of the brain), so I was not surprised when he was drawn to the geometric tree activity. I joined him for an afternoon of drawing, and eventually the girls were so intrigued that they started drawing, too. They didn’t draw the activity we were drawing – they just drew whatever they liked. That’s okay – the book is still serving its purpose of developing creative and visual thinking!
A Silly Book for Creative and Visual Thinking: Tangle Art & Drawing Games for Kids
This geometry tree activity is one of several highly accessible activities in the book – activities that even someone who hasn’t picked up a pen in years should be able to complete with relative ease. Other activities in the book might feel more intimidating – save those for when you are feeling properly silly and therefore not afraid to draw something that winds up looking nothing like what you intended! While activities like this geometry tree are perfect for making the book feel approachable, activities like “draw with your foot” are perfect for unleashing your silly side.
Johnny’s tree eventually evolved into the creation above. It included a fairly complex plot line that my sleep-deprived brain sadly no longer remembers. Which might be sad, or maybe it’s just an opportunity for a brand new plot line, preferably with a solid dose of silliness thrown in. My tree vanished sometime between when I started drawing and after dinner. Apparently my eight-year-old is better at curating his creations than I am! Evidently, this means I need to draw something else to post on instagram, maybe tomorrow or Monday.
One final benefit of this type of artistic activity: brilliant fine motor skills! All four of my children are constantly complimented on their fine motor skills. I am sure that our family’s emphasis on time spent enjoying creative activities plays a role in their having this as a personal strength.
How do you encourage creative and visual thinking? Creativity has become increasingly important since industrialization, and visual thinking is more important than ever in our highly visual world!