Reader’s Question ~ Art Appreciation with Boys?

This week I would like to share another interesting reader’s question.  
She asks ~
What would you suggest I use as a start to art appreciation for my 6-year-old and 4-year-old sons?   I am not a natural artist and I was never really exposed to art, but I would love to share art with my boys. Are boys even interested in fine arts?
She also asked about purchasing art products, curriculums and art lesson books.
Here are some of my suggestions ~p1130060.jpg (1280×960)
  • It is really not necessary to buy any art formal curriculum at this stage. While packages, books and programs are often a great blessing to moms with little confidence or art experience, it is really not necessary to spend much/any money on your art appreciation lessons.
  • Pop over to my Art Appreciation pages for inspiration for art lessons, activities, links and outlines of famous artworks.
  • For free lessons, I highly recommend Patti’s “All Things Bright and Beautiful” because she prepares a weekly picture, classical music selection and poems with all the Internet links.  Subscribe to her blog and you will receive her emails each week.
  • Read Simply Charlotte Mason post Teaching Art Subject By Subject on how to do your picture study and teaching art expression.
  • Barb at Harmony Fine Art has Fine Art Plans to purchase, but she shares loads of free artist study ideas and lessons!
  • Jimmie of Jimmie’s Collage shares her free Charlotte Mason Artist Study lessons, ideas and links.
  • Use what you have or borrow books from the library and select an interesting artist and look at his work for a brief lesson once a week.
  • Don’t worry about being able to paint or do art either.  Simply enjoy the art activity with your kids. We LOVE doing Sketch Tuesday each week!
  • Find stuff that is fun and non-threatening for your kids and do it along with them!
  • There are tons of YouTube videos and blog with ideas and tutorials, but, again, keep things loose and informal and encourage participation without stressing about “doing it right”.
  • ALL children can enjoy art appreciation.  Some artists, topics or techniques lend themselves more to boys, while others, girls may find more interesting.  Select interesting art – especially the subject matter.  Vary the type of media or art studied.  It may be typical to assume that boys may enjoy the physical, messy art lessons, while girls may prefer “pretty” art.  I have found that everyone forms a personal reaction and response to art.  It is a subjective experience.  That is what makes it so special.
  • Art appreciation doesn’t mean that you or your kids have to “like” every art piece!  My youngest daughter hated  most of Picasso’s art!  But, she can recognize his works!  Ironically, her Guitar Collage art appreciation activity was chosen from an international search for a child’s art work for a poster!
Lastly, please may I encourage you not to KILL art and music appreciation!   I ruined my eldest daughters simple joy for art & music appreciation and nature study by trying to make every encounter a formal lesson with a notebook page, narration or activity to show how much she had learnt.  I came on too strong and too ‘teachy’.   have learnt my lesson!  Keep it really informal and relaxed.  If your child shows any real interest, then by all means, take your time to research, read references and look for other examples.  Even a very informal quick lesson has rich and lasting impacts on our children.
What other suggestions would you give this reader?  Please share in the comments below.

14 thoughts on “Reader’s Question ~ Art Appreciation with Boys?

    • @thegirlwhopaintedtrees, you’re so right! I think it is both our positive desire to impart knowledge, skills and share our own enthusiasm for learning that pushes, but more frequently, and sadly, it is often our own fear of not doing enough, teaching enough and proving that we are successful as homeschoolers that causes us to “come on too strong.” It is grace that sees each child’s uniqueness and facilitates their learning journey. Blessings!


  1. This is so wonderful! Thank you for sharing all these great resources! I will definitely be checking out any I have not seen before! My degree is in Art History, but it honestly never even occurred to me that my boys (now 9 and 6) would be interested in art, other than fun art projects, until I started homeschooling them and learned about Charlotte Mason. I have been quite surprised by their natural interest and enthusiasm for the subject! I absolutely agree that an informal approach is best. Its about whetting their appetites (and your own as well). I would also suggest fun outings….if there is an art museum in town that has an area where younger children are allowed to do hands on projects for instance. Its a great way to have access to materials you may not have at home, and new ideas and inspiration abound! Depending on the maturity, and personality of a child, you might even consider walking some of the galleries together. My older son loves it, and I think I first took him when he was 6. It can be a special Mommy/Son date. 🙂 I think its also exciting to learn right along with my boys…I relate to your reader in not being a “natural artist.” I never learned to draw, etc, but now as a homeschooling Mama, I’m finding that I need not feel insecure about what I “lack,” but use it as an opportunity to show my boys what life long learning is all about!


    • @Jennifer Bias, thanks for adding your comments. Thanks for reminding me about going on art appreciation outings. When we lived in the city, we met up with another homeschool family and visited the city art museum each week. They arranged a personal guide to take us on specific child-friendly art tours. Our guide regularly introduced the kids to artists who were doing installations or working on their art, and this experience made art so real to our kids. Find out what your local museum or gallery are willing to do for your family.
      I love your idea of a special child/mom art date! It is such a personal experience that it would be wonderful to share this intimately with your son (or daughter)! Blessings!


  2. This was very timely and encouraging. I’m mulling over ideas to get my sons interested in art. My daughter is already hooked. The boys – not so much. Thank you for this post!


    • @M.N. Stroh, try the fun stuff with boys! Maybe you could focus on an art theme or subject that they really are interested in, for example, cars, mechanics, wild animals?


  3. Thank you for these links Nadene – they are just what I needed. I find the fine arts are what get neglected in the busy days and this will just help to get us back on track. I have older boys and two younger girls and the boys are not “artistic” and baulk at doing art. But I persist, knowing (hoping) that something will go in and be waiting for them to recall when they are older and maybe suddenly interested!


    • @Anna, thank you for sharing. I think that this is fairly common. May I suggest that your family can do art appreciation without having to do art. It is simple and non-threatening because children can develop a personal understanding of art and a knowledge of the artist, his period and influences when one uses a CM approach to picture study.
      When we include doing our own art once a week, we find the art time so stimulating and creative that it feeds our souls. It is what makes our homeschooling rich and rewarding. It is worth the investment in time and disruption. Sometimes “doing” art/ art appreciation has saved us from feeling that we are drowning in difficult maths or spelling! So, I agree, persist! You never know when there is that spark and personal connection!


  4. Thanks Nadene and all who have wonderful advice to share. I’m so encouraged. I Have not taken the plunge yet but will soon. I also discovered through your links, Famous Paintings Art Appreciation Lessons for Kids / here I read the piece on Renoir, A Girl with A Watering Can and found it interesting. I had seen this painting in my sons Sonlight book (A Childs book of Art) but felt a bit blank before. I’m now going to print the painting and the artist and just put it on display and talk about it etc and just expose them to art. 🙂 At least I have learnt something about the artists life and it only took a minute, such an easy read! 🙂


  5. Oh and I see there is also an online jigsaw puzzle of the painting and other activities for kids to do, this could familiarize them with the painting in a fun way perhaps, my boys love puzzles.


  6. What a wonderful list of resources…and I like that the majority are free! Thank you for taking the time to share them. I’ll look forward to incorporating the ideas from many of them into our studies next year.


  7. Great ideas, thanks Nadene! One thing that worked quite well with my boys was to get them to do draw a picture for narration in place of a written narration. It was great for history especially when we did the Middle Ages.


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