Prepare for an Art Fair

peekingToday I want to make a suggestion – Plan for an ART FAIR in August! [I originally shared this article with a group of Childcare Providers in my area. Yet I know it would be a wonderful thing for a family to do... especially if you find a couple of neighboring families or friends with children who would like to get together on a regular basis during the summer. So gather a group of kids however you desire and give this some thought.]

Yes… it’s the beginning of summer here in the northern hemisphere. And that makes it the perfect time to consider holding an Art Fair at the end of summer!

A very favorite activity in my daycare was doing “art” projects. You may find that to be true for you also. Nothing is more exciting for 2-5 year olds than a bit of glitter and a dab of glue!!! LOL

And in the summer, when we could get outside we’d go WILD with bigger, messier projects than ever. But what to do with all this stuff? Of course, parents love to be presented with their children’s art but there comes a point when enough is enough!

That’s when I got a bright idea. I decided that though it might be challenging for the kids to consider leaving their art work at daycare… oh my… we should share our work on a slightly grander scale.

So I suggested that we keep some of their summer artwork at my house with the intention that before school starts in fall, we would hold a sidewalk ART FAIR in front of the house. Not only that… we were going to donate the proceeds to some local charity that we would choose as time for the Art Fair drew near.

The idea was a ‘hit’. Of course, it helped that there were school-agers involved since they are a bit less reluctant to part with their paper bag puppet, if you know what I mean. :-)

Something magical happens with a group of kids when they share a common purpose. The summer art my kids created, yes, even the very young ones, was always amazing. They are so eager and proud… even if they don’t quite understand the idea of an “Art Fair in August” until the day of the fair.

They simply become unleashed. Exploring their creativity while honing their skills because they love the idea of sharing (and showing off) at the Fair. They create art that’s functional like Kites and bowls and art that can be played with like games and dollhouses and art that exists simply for the beauty like paintings and clay sculpture.

From large pieces created by shaking brushes and squirting paint from squirt guns on rolls of paper pinned to chain link fences to tiny painted rock people… and everything in-between.

The excitement grows as August approaches. The two weeks before the ART FAIR it’s time to teach the children about marketing! No time for creating art now. It’s time to paint posters and make flyers announcing the upcoming ART FAIR. (And put on your walking shoes because you all are going to canvass the surrounding neighborhood with flyers!!!)

Admittedly, the day of the ART FAIR arrives and… the parents go home with most of the art!!! LOL (Another bit of magic is that inevitibly parents seem to be excused from work early on Art Fair days… hmmm)

The kids are glowing, the parents are proud and enjoyed socializing and you feel the satisfaction along with the relief of having all that artwork out of your house so you can start getting ready for your fall program.

A few days before the very first ART FAIR we held in my daycare our community suffered the loss of a child. The kids in my care chose to donate their Art Fair earnings to the fund for the bereaved family.  It was such an honor for me to take ‘my’ children to the local bank with their bags of nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars. As the children explained how they raised the money the bank tellers started applauding them. It was a fabulous ‘feel good’ moment for all of us. The richest part for me was the conversation of the children as we proceeded back to my house. It expanded their awareness of so many things… not the least of which was that they, too, can make a contribution to their community!

So… what do you think? I hope you’re considering an ART FAIR for your community too. It can also be a great way to raise funds for some new equipment for the kids in your home. There is no limit to what children can do with a little bit of encouragement and the resources to follow their inspiration!

Until later, remember to respect each other, nurture one another and play well together…

I appreciate you.
–Mary K

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