Teaching is what we do here at Orange Easel.  We teach art skills as well as life skills--like cutting with scissors, holding a pencil, and even using power tools (for the older kids).

We know that as parents, you are your kiddos BEST teachers.  And you've got a lot to teach!  We've got six magical words to help YOU teach anything.  We use them all the time when we're writing out a teaching plan or when we come across an obstacle in class.


I do. We do. You do. 

We think the "We do" step is really the most important (and the hardest) so this blog post is going to focused pretty heavily on that stage. We've outlined some tips below.  Be sure to watch our YouTube video too, where Miss Allison explains more about these three stages.

What can you teach ?

Our job as parents is to make little productive adults, right?  So, what can we teach?  Well, everything we know.  We need to  teach them everything that they'll need to be successful on their own.  All those life skills from tying their shoes to doing their own laundry to checking the tire pressure in their car tires.

There are many checklists floating around blogs and pinterests boards that can give you an idea of what kinds of tasks your children are ready to learn.  Do a google search.  Or just take our word for it, and check out this one from FamilyEducation.com

We generally believe that kids are much more capable than we give them credit for.  Given the proper TEACHING, they can be responsible for many jobs around the house.  

And teaching is what we do here. So, let us help you out.  

I do. We do. You do.

These are the steps.  There's no timeline for them.  There's no magic number of times you have to show them and do it with them before they "get it."  There's nothing that says that just because you've made it successfully to YOU DO that you don't have to revisit the WE DO stage when the bathroom cleaning gets a little lax.   

Just know that when your little ones (or big ones) are struggling with something that they SHOULD know how to do, it's time to go back to WE DO.

The Importance of We Do.

That means together.  Like side-by-side.  Fully supportive.  This is hard because whatever it is that you're trying to teach is going to take twice as long with someone else tagging along.  Gah.  It's going to be frustrating.  This is going to test your patience.  For you control freaks out there, this is going to test your ability to let go a little bit.  

The goal with WE DO is to teach them these new skills through cooperation not through coercion.  Everyone's experience will be better if your kiddos actually want learn it.  The pace of the learner matters.  

In no particular order, here's are best advice on WE DO.
  • It's not all-or-nothing.  Just because you're teaching your kids to do their own laundry and you're in the WE DO stage doesn't mean they have to always do it with you.  You can still do stuff for them.  They might even appreciate it a little more.  We all like it when people do stuff for us, right?  
  • Check your attitude.  If you're not in a teaching mood, don't bother.  See above and just do it yourself.  
  • Check their attitude.  Just because you're ready to teach, doesn't mean that their are ready to learn.  Set yourself up for success.  Make a plan together.
  • Teach with kindness, patience, and humor.  Don't just bark orders.  WE DO.  So, you do it too.
  • Don't expect perfection.  Don't refold the clothes.  Don't re-chop the onions.  Unless it's going to hurt or injury someone else in the family, leave it.
  • Get them on board with the process.  "Can you help me with dinner?" will usually get a positive response.  
  • If it gets stressful, call it off.  Live to fight another day.
  • Be a team.  Yes, laundry stinks.  Nobody likes to do dishes.  But, hey, we're in this together, kid.  Let's get it done.  
  • Praise them.  Not "Good job."  Instead try: "I really appreciate your help." "I know it's hard to learn something new.  You really tried hard and you got it."  "You made my evening better."  "I love spending time with you."  
  • Thank them for their help.  Even if it took five times longer than it normally does.

But, what if they just don't want to?

Honestly, who really WANTS to do laundry?  We get it.  It's hard to make these chores attractive.  

If you've got a little one who has dug in their heels on something, pick a different battle.  Start with something they're interested in.  Go slow.  Especially if they haven't had many responsibilities leading up to this point.  

That WE DO stage might need to last a good long while.  

Hang in there, parents.  You're raising responsible adults and that's not an easy task.
 
 
Not everyone can make it over to the studio over Christmas Break so we brought some art ideas to you via Facebook Live.  All of these tutorials use the basic art supplies and stuff we figured most people have around the house. If you need a new activity to keep the kids occupied, check out our tutorials and let us know how they go!

MONDAY - Paper Mosaic Art

Perfect for the older kids, these mosaics use magazines to create a sophisticated and texture-rich piece of artwork.

SUPPLIES:
  • Magazines
  • Glue
  • Paper or cardboard backing

TUESDAY - Ice Art

Sensory fun for the younger artists.  We even show you our trick for an inexpensive light table.

SUPPLIES:
  • Ice
  • Food coloring
  • Droppers
  • Salt

WEDNESDAY - Salt Dough Sculpture

Easy to make, clay or playdough substitute!  If you bake it, you can even finish your sculptures with paint.

SUPPLIES: 
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • Water

THURSDAY - Fun with Weaving Art and Pom Poms

Use whatever you've got: yarn, ribbon, scrap fabric, etc.  Over-under-over-under...this weaving process is great fine motor practice for small kids, while the big kids can make a stunning piece of unique art.  

SUPPLIES: 
  • Yarn, ribbon, scrap fabric, material
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors

FRIDAY - Griddle Art 

One of our ALL TIME FAVORITES.  We love this way of "painting" with crayons.

SUPPLIES:
  • Flat electric griddle
  • Crayons
  • Aluminum foil
  • Paper