Youth Art Month: It All Starts With a Simple Box of Crayons

Posted on March 5, 2018

by Clare T

March is Youth Art Month (YAM) at your Library! Make time to get unplugged and immersed in some family art time. Find out about our system-wide Maker Movement or Tech Tools at your Toledo Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL). Creation empowers the maker. Working in pairs or in a group, fosters a sense of collaboration and innovation. That’s what we mean by the Maker Movement. It is a creative, community process that leads to innovation, artistic discovery and lifelong learning.

Making art and being an artist takes a belief in the process. Have you ever wondered why some people seem to show a real talent for art? Some believe it is just natural ability. I firmly believe that folks who profess they can’t do art are just lacking artistic self-esteem. As kids, they let their eyeballs get the most of them. They saw what other kids were creating and panicked. These youngsters bottomed out before they even started because they viewed the art process as a competition. Think about this – Did Mario Andretti win the race the first time he got behind the wheel?

In grade school, do you remember the kids who were grinding away at the pencil sharpener, refining their actions to get the lead point just right? These kids can tell you why a number two pencil is an HB, not too hard or black, but a medium tone, perfect for sketching and test taking. These kids had the right spirit. They didn’t let competition get in the way of artistic enjoyment. Perhaps, they figured out that exploration and experimentation were keys to artistic success.

Three Steps Towards Artistic Discovery

Step 1: Boost a Child’s Sense of Artistic Success

Image of a stack of children's picture books

What can you do to boost your sense of artistic success in you or your own kids? First, provide your kids with interesting printed visuals and children’s storybooks with colorful illustrations. Allow children to celebrate their innate, artistic talents by providing easy access to art supplies. Essentially, it all could start with a simple box of crayons.

Creative Stories for Kids Featuring Colors

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse” by Eric Carle

Ages 1-3

Rather than use the same old colors, a child paints animals and objects in a variety of different hues. Includes biographical information about the German painter Franz Marc, who created unconventional animal paintings in the early 1900s.

Little Green Peas : A Big Book of Colors by Keith Baker

Little Green Peas : A Big Book of Colors” by Keith Baker

Ages 2-4

Little green peas make their way into collections of objects of many different colors, from blue boats, seas, and flags, to orange balloons, umbrellas, and fizzy drinks.

Penguins Love Colors by Sarah Aspinall

Penguins Love Colors” by Sarah Aspinall

Ages 3-5

Six little penguins named after flowers and plants decide to paint a beautiful picture on the ice for their mother and end up with paint all over themselves.

Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson

Bear Sees Colors” by Karma Wilson

Ages 3-7

While taking a walk with Mouse, Bear meets many other friends and sees colors everywhere.

Additional Formats: Read-Along Audio | eAudio

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood” by F. Isabel Campoy

Ages 4-7

Mira lives in a gray and hopeless urban community until a muralist arrives and, along with his paints and brushes, brings color, joy, and togetherness to Mira and her neighbors.

Additional Formats: Read-Along eVideo | eAudio | DVD

Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin

Monsters Love Colors” by Mike Austin

Ages 4-8

Playful monsters combine their favorite crayons, red, yellow, and blue, to create new colors, including one never before seen.

Let's Play by Herve Tullet

Let’s Play!” by Hervé Tullet

Ages 5-6

A lively yellow dot leads the reader through a journey through color, shape, and a child’s imagination.

More Books About Color for Kids

Board Books for Ages 0-4

Ellie in color / Mike Wu
Walk and see colors / illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
Colors with ladybug / written by Dawn Sirett
Colors of love / by Tina Gallo

Picture Books for Ages 4-8

Summer color! / by Diana Murray
Festival of colors / written by Kabir Sehgal & Surishta Sehgal
Poppy, Buttercup, Bluebell, and Dandy / by Fiona Woodcock
Dr. Seuss's Book of Colors

Printed Visuals

Free coloring sheets from Crayola

Free coloring sheets from Fisher Price

Step 2: Celebrate the Almighty Crayon!

Image of colorful crayons

Who doesn’t love a new box of crayons? What could be better than Crayola Crayon Day or National Crayon Day? Mark it on the calendar – March 31.

Remember when you were a kid and you made your first leaf rubbing? Find a crayon, grab some paper and go on a scavenger hunt. Check out the pattern on the bottom of your athletic shoes. Rub out a design filled with bumps, ridges and grit. Nice discovery, right?

If you haven’t used a box of crayons recently, you’ll find all kinds of new crayon names! I love the trendy crayon colors like macaroni and cheese, jungle green and enchanted forest. My least favorite crayon color is flesh, introduced in 1949. Crayola renamed it flesh tint and pink beige before finally settling on peach – as it is known today. Do you wonder what the most popular crayon color? What is your favorite? Crayola’s 1993 poll found that America’s favorite color was blue! In 2017, the new shade of blue joining Crayola’s color collection is called Bluetiful. Artists said goodbye to dandelion, but consumers voted to “Save the Shade” and voters saved burnt sienna from retirement.

Online Resources for Fun Art Projects with Crayons

Inspire Creativity With Crayons with help from Crayola.

12 Creative Crayon Art Projects for Kids from Hello, Wonderful

Melted Crayon Art: Crafts for Kids from PBS Parents

What to do With Crayons: 35 Uses for Crayons from Hands on as we Grow

Creative Stories for Kids Featuring Crayons

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt

The Day the Crayons Came Home” by Drew Daywalt

Ages 5-8

A companion to “The Day the Crayons Quit” finds Duncan embarking on a daring rescue when a group of crayons ask him to save them from various fates that include being lost under a sofa cushion, melted in the dryer or comparably damaging destinies.

Additional formats: eBook.

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds

Ages 4 & up

Vashti believes that she cannot draw, but her art teacher’s encouragement leads her to change her mind.

Additional formats: eBook | eAudio | eAudio (Spanish)

Frankencrayon by Michael Hall

Frankencrayon” by Michael Hall

Ages 4-8

If the crayons cannot stop the scribble monster, this picture book and the play “Frankencrayon” may have to be canceled.

Additional formats: eAudio

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson

Ages 4-8

One evening Harold decides to go for a walk in the moonlight. Armed only with an oversize purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement.

Additional formats: Spanish | eBook | Read-along eBook | eAudio | DVD

More Books for Kids Featuring Crayons

Ages 4-8

Things to do with dad / Sam Zuppardi
The Crayola patterns book / by Mari Schuh
The crayon : a colorful tale about friendship by Simon Rickerty
Red : a crayon's story / Michael Hall

Step 3: Explore Artistic Discovery

Image of father and daughter drawing together

Support and enhance your child’s love of art by creating something together as a family at the Library or at home. Get excited about trying new things. Art can make your life Bluetiful! We hope the resources below will help you plan fun family art days.

Arts & Crafts Programs @ the Library

Arts and crafts can be fun for the entire family!

To learn more about our upcoming programs:

Check out our programs page online.

Pick up one of our program guides at any of our Library locations.

Or call us at 419.259.5200.

Art Books to Help Kids and Parents Get Creative

The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family's Life with Art and Creativity by Jean Van't Hul

The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and Creativity” by Jean Van’t Hul

Provides over sixty art projects for children designed to inspire creativity and imagination, including creating artful envelopes, tracing shadow shapes, and making collage frames.

500 Kids Art Ideas: Inspiring Projects for Fostering Creativity and Self-Expression by Gavin Andrews

500 Kids Art Ideas: Inspiring Projects for Fostering Creativity and Self-Expression” by Gavin Andrews

With an emphasis on nature and recyclable materials, an ultimate craft resource, filled with a vast array of art projects that adults and children can do together, engages children and activates their imagination, while teaching them critical skills.

Art Lab for Little Kids: 52 Playful Projects for Preschoolers by Susan Schwake

Art Lab for Little Kids: 52 Playful Projects for Preschoolers” by Susan Schwake

Developed for the younger set, 4-6 year olds, and targeting one of the most critical developmental periods for children, “Art Lab for Little Kids” is the perfect book for both parents and teachers who are seeking enriching and unique experiences to offer this age group.

Dribble Drabble: Process Art Experiences for Young Children by Deya Brashears Hill

Dribble Drabble: Process Art Experiences for Young Children” by Deya Brashears Hill

Creative art should offer children the opportunities for originality, creativity, fluency, flexibility, and sensitivity. All activities are easily adaptable for children from age two to eight. The 145 process-oriented art activities cover a wide range of media including painting, crayons, collage and sculpture, chalk, and printing.

More Art Books to Inspire Creativity
Action art : hands-on active art adventures / MaryAnn F. Kohl, Barbara Zaborowski
Screen-free crafts kids will love : fun activities that inspire creativity, problem-solving and lifelong learning / Lynn Lilly
Art Workshop for Children by Barbara Rucci and Betsy McKenna
Express Yourself: 52 Creative Adventures to Find Your Voice Through Drawing, Painting, Mixed Media, and Sculpture by Susan Schwake

Celebrate Arts & Crafts Days

International Scrapbooking Industry Day – March 4

Quilting Day – March 17

Pencil Day – March 20

Crayon Day on March 31

Resources for Teaching Art and Kid-Friendly Art Projects

The Artful Parent is the parent’s resource for easy and fun kid’s art. Creativity helps kids and Parent Thrive!

Artsy Craftsy Mom is a great resource for easy and fun kid-friendly arts & crafts. Pablo Picasso’s blue period paintings are great for seeing the power of color. Check out “Top 10 Pablo Picasso Projects for Kids.”

Deep Space Sparkle will help you find the right project for multiple ages.

Art Factory provides lessons on various artistic techniques.

Kinder Art offers art lessons from preschool through high school.

Draw, paint, sparkle : creative projects from an elementary art teacher / Patty Palmer

Draw, Paint, Sparkle : Creative Projects From an Elementary Art Teacher” by Patty Palmer

25 kid-tested lessons in drawing and painting — perfect for children ages 5 to 10. Encourage and empower kids to make art! The 25 art lessons in this book present step-by-step drawing instructions paired with a range of painting techniques and styles for endless creative exploration. Designed by an elementary art teacher, each creative exploration offers tips on using the best art materials (that won’t break the bank), shares art-making techniques that add variety and ease to the projects, and provides insights on engaging kids in the process.

Hands-On Art Projects by Various Authors - eBook
Hands On! Art Projects” by Various Authors

The Hands-On! Series is designed with any classroom in mind, aiding teachers and students both in the school environment and the at-home classroom by educating children about the amazing subjects of science, math, art, and nature, and more importantly, giving young learners the tools they need to explore and learn about those subjects on their own.

Make it! Write it! Read it! Simple Bookmarking Projects to Engage Kids in Art and Literacy by Wendy M.L. Libby

Make it! Write it! Read it! Simple Bookmarking Projects to Engage Kids in Art and Literacy” by Wendy M.L. Libby

Develops both art and literacy skills through the craft of bookmaking, inspiring elementary-aged children to read, write, and tell stories with their creations. Creative, fun, field-tested projects for teachers, parents, counselors, or other caregivers to work through with children ages 3-8 include 17 different blank book designs.

An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work by the National Gallery of Art

An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work” by the National Gallery of Art

Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of full-color images, this family-oriented art resource introduces children to more than 50 great artists and their work, with corresponding activities and explorations that inspire artistic development, focused looking, and creative writing.

Learn More About the Importance of Arts Education for Children

Early Art: What it Means and How to Encourage It from PBS

The Art of Creating: Why Art is Important for Early Childhood Development from MSU Extension

Make Sure Your Child Gets an Arts Education from Scholastic

Why Art and Creativity are Important for Kids from Parents Magazine

30+ Inspiring and Useful Art Education Blogs from TinkerLab

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