I want to share an experience I had this morning. I held a Family Pumpkin Painting class at the Art Establishment Studios. It might sound crafty and maybe just like something to fill time to some people. But this happened: A mother brings her 8 year old son. She doesn't participate but stays to help out and observe. I discussed ideas with him. (brainstorming...) He did some sketching of his final ideas. And he made a personal choice on his design. This is about learning how to make choices when there is no right or wrong, which he will have to do his entire life. He then followed through with that choice... he learned about planning before just jumping in... patience and being thoughtful before acting (impulse control). I taught him how to use a brush the "right" way so he could get the result he wanted. In the end... he LOVED his time spent painting that pumpkin. He was SO PROUD of what he accomplished. He wants to come back and take more classes. His mom shared with me that it has been difficult to find things he wants to do and she was so happy he liked this so much.
Another boy (9 years old) was there waiting for his dad. He decided to join us. He also declared "This was great! I am going to come to all the classes when I have to come here with my dad!"
A grandfather brought his 4 year old grandson. At the end, the grandson was sitting on his lap while they worked on his pumpkin together.
These kids learned a lot about creating art, but so much more that is directly relative to life skills... impulse control, planning, thinking things through, they shared, responsibility, taking turns, patience, how to clean up after themselves... I could go on! They also felt pride in themselves. But also, they had an experience that is not really quantitative.... they walked out of there happy, excited, alive, and connected to something within themselves. And just knowing they wanted to do more.