Hey moms! You may remember when Stef from AskaNanny.com recently visited She Lives Free to discuss open-ended art experiences for babies and toddlers. Well today she is back to share more ideas on art experiences for our kiddos!
As we enter into the last months of the school year I bet it’s not hard to see how much your children have grown since their fall school photos. Year after year we hold these school portraits close as our children change and grow faster and faster before our eyes – but how to can we document more of their personality and progress each year?
In the coming month start a new tradition – the end of the year self portrait. Then display the start of the year photo and the self portrait side by side and you will hold on to not just their face but a rich snapshot of their personality each step of the way.

So grab a mirror and a piece of good quality paper (you want to save it!) and ask them draw you a self portrait. 
If they are feeling a bit uninspired start by looking at the school pictures of them throughout the years and maybe try a book of famous self portraits. I love the style of the portraits in the book “Artists, Writers, Thinkers, Dreamers” . And if they still have reservations offer to draw a self portrait of yourself along with them.
Holding onto this moment in time is a great way for you to see there progress in action each year, but there are many other fun and educational aspects to self portrait drawing that are valuable learning opportunities for any child – even early as three!
– Self evaluation and documentation gives your child the time to stop and really look at themselves on purpose – not just to make silly faces! Plus for younger children you can offer adjective choices like: Is your hair curly or straight? or Are your eyes round or oval? which will offer them a jumping off point.
– For older children you can offer observations and experiments based on the geometry of the face. Example: Our eyes are typically found in the middle of our face which can be surprising to most kids. Together take your pencils and measure from your foreheads to your eyes and then compare that to the distance from your eyes to your chins. You can also draw a line with your finger from the corners of your mouth up to a spot on your eye (usually the middle but not always) which will help to map out some of the drawing.
– Make sure they write their name and the year on their drawing so you can also preserve their writing skills for prosperity as well – they won’t be writing their 2’s like that much longer! Of course if they want to add a picture of their favorite food or stuffed animal – even better!
When given the opportunity to draw a self portrait children are more free with their creativity. SInce it is a picture of them, they can make themselves whatever they want to be with no pressure. The more creative they are with their self portrait the more confident they will be in their abilities to create.
Enjoy your days together


– Stef, the nanny with the answers