Around the world, people are celebrating Children’s Art Week this month. In this unprecedented time, the event will be held online this year—encouraging kids to go back to nature.
The great Pablo Picasso once wrote, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
We’ve rounded up some ways you (and the children in your life) can join the fun this year. But first, as a bit of inspiration, here’s a short meditation from Louie Schwartzberg called “A Child’s Eye.”
It is a UK-wide program run by Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education, but everyone is welcome to participate.
The first and central theme of Children’s Art Week is “The Natural World.” Participants can find activities that cross science, natural history, geography, geology and the great outdoors!
What natural material could you use to make art? How can you encourage safe outdoor activity or take inspiration from features in your local area?
That video reminds us, young and old, that “Seeing a child do anything for the first time, dipping in toe in water, lifting a fork, picking up snow, or petting a puppy, is a treat for the heart.” When we inspire the next generation of creators, we also learn and grow as we share in a kid’s joy.
If you do make a work of art with a kid, send us a photo! We’ll make something special with all our readers’ contributions. #FantasticFungiArt
Join in and share your creations using the hashtags #GetKidsCreating and #ChildrensArtWeek. We’ll be keeping an eye out for your creations and would love to share the results.
Create a piece of art about farmers markets.
“I go to farmers markets and work with children to increase their ecological literacy. I’m basically exposing these people to new realities, showing them that there are other ways to live,” said William Padilla Brown in the Fantastic Fungi book.
Watch a YouTube video or read a book together.
Whether kids watch this video of Paul Stamets teaching his grandson about a bee mushroomed bird feeder or reading Foraging with Kids by Adele Nozedar, there are lots of ways to show kids how to be creative in nature.
Help a child understand and celebrate the values of mycology.
“Who wants to teach their children to be greedy, mean, and violent?” asks Paul Stamets in the Fantastic Fungi book, sharing what he learned from the cooperative fungi kingdom and mycelium networks. “Benevolence, kindness, trust, forgiveness—the fact that these concepts exist is to me de facto proof that the evolution of life has been based on the concept of goodness.”
Go back to nature on an outdoor hike
Start foraging this weekend! A fungi field trip can help children embrace hope and joy, rather than becoming numbed by fear. It’s a way to stimulate and encourage a child’s curiosity in learning about the wonders of our existence. For example, in the documentary series Growing Back To Nature we see mycologist William Padilla-Brown taking his son on a foraging trip.