The Perfect Art Book for Preschoolers {a Crew Review}

The Way They See It

Art is an everyday occurrence around here. The crayons, colored pencils, markers, paints (acrylic, water color and finger) and play-doh are always readily available. You won’t see much fine art here but instead you will find a plethora of lovingly crafted scribble pages and paint hand prints on the walls and refrigerator.

I have never really been structural with the art my preschoolers do. If they want to color, we color. If they want to paint, we paint. I’ve not made a habit of instruction or direction. I guess I never thought about it. That is, until I received The Way They See It from ARTistic Pursuits.

To be honest, I expected a book filled with fun and easy projects for preschoolers with a bit of the “why” kids color and such the way they do. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is so much more.

The Way They See It Review

This book is for Mommy, Daddy, and any adult who desires to give a child an early experience with the process of making art. It is not a coloring book. It is not an activity book. It begins at the true beginning of any artistic production, seeing. We can only make art from what we know. If we want our children to create original works of art, then they must be made aware of the world in which they live. Caring adults can nurture this awareness and bring it to life in a child. This book shows you how.

The Way They See It contains 26 lessons. Each lesson contains three sections (usually 1 page each): Grown-up talk, Picture talk and a Project.

Grown-up talk

The grown-up talk section give so much sight into the world of preschoolers and their art! Instead of reading the sections as we worked our way through the book, I found myself reading page after page after page. Reading the grown-up talk sections and skimming the project instructions were engaging and insightful.

It really makes teaching art easy- even when it involves littles! The conversational tone and relaxed content is clearly stated and easily implemented.

A couple take-aways from this section:

Unlike most school subjects requiring linear thinking, the subject of art demands creative thought. This necessitates a stimulus beyond a book, a desk and a pencil. It requires a response from children toward the world they live in and the world they see.

Children are always learning. When a child draws a story on paper, he is imaging and developing a complicated narrative. He can see it, change it, and can eventually tell you about it. This kind of mental activity is practice in creative thinking, planning, and foresight that will be a very valuable tool in learning all kinds of subjects.

Picture talk

Section two in each lesson shows a piece of art and has prompts for the parent on how to “study” the piece with your child. In the Charlotte Mason world, it is known as a picture study.

TWTSI 2Project

The project is always an extension of the picture study. The corresponding project for the above pictures study was to gather similar items and draw them with crayons on paper.

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Max wasn't into the whole flower thing, so he chose to draw a Rescue Hero instead.
Max wasn’t into the whole flower thing so he wanted to draw a rescue figure instead.

As you can see in the photo above, I drew a man too. Max just couldn’t get started so I drew next to him on my own paper. One thing the book is very clear about is NOT drawing on your child’s paper but allowing them to make it their own.

Another project we did was the mark-making project. It involved finger painting but with a twist. The book gives a recipe for homemade finger paints. Having a homemade option is always nice!

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They had a lot of fun with that one!

We also did a painting project. I really like that the book gives you as the parent so much guidance as to what to say and how to say things. Like with the painting, “When you paint, pull the brush across the paper. Don’t push or pound with it.”

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Supplies

ARTistic Pursuits offers supply packages on their website. There is also a materials list with recommendations in the book. We already had most of what was needed and decided to go with their recommendations for the other items. We bought the Mr. Sketch smelly markers and the Crayola 5 brush set for fun. The kids loved the smelly markers. I bet they spent more time smelling than actually drawing!

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Several times in the book the author recommends some children’s art books by Lucy Micklethwait. We got several from the library and the kids really enjoyed going through them. Some are essentially just more picture studies but others are more engaging like Seek and Finds or finding something that begins with a certain letter. I love that using these books in conjunction with The Way They See It proves that children are never too young to begin appreciating art. There were many at the library and I intend to go back for more once we are done with these.

My bottom line

We all had a good time with The Way They See It. I love both the way it is written and the layout of the book. The projects are perfect for little ones and as a teacher/mommy it’s easy to use. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to bring more real art into the lives of their littles. The lessons learned in this book will last a lifetime. It really is the perfect art book for preschoolers!!

 

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