Napkin Art During a Pandemic

Sue is a product designer who has a three-year old caterpillar enthusiast, Mateo.

In their experience:

Public libraries are great resources for story time and craft projects

Pick age appropriate activities inspired by daily life

Cultivate the love of expressing ideas

How has the pandemic impacted the way you balance work and family?

I currently work remotely as a product designer for a consulting firm. I’m a big advocate for arts education, having worked previously for arts nonprofits and studied arts and psychology in college. My son is three, and goes over to grandma’s right now from 9-6. Both my partner and I work from home, which would be impossible with a toddler.

How did you start making art at home with your son?

I used to be a teaching artist with LACMA, so I have experience understanding where my son is developmentally; which has come in handy to determine what would be a good project for him. His experience experimenting with paint is as important as painting an actual picture, and more consistent with his age. We also utilize the activities and story provided by our local library.

Do you have any tips or tricks for other parents who want to engage in the arts with their kids? I think art project and activities can be inspired by daily events. When grandparents are cooking, they will provide dough he makes into shapes. Inspiration comes from so many places, even the materials we have at home. He’s really into caterpillars, so we put some into a mason jar; he’s watching them eat and grow, so we did an art project from that. Turning what’s happening during our day into an arts activity is pretty fun and relevant.

How have the arts impacted you and your child in these times?

Yesterday he wanted to save the paper towel we gave him at dinner to make a mask. He had a whole plan in his head, looked for ribbon, and drew two dots for the holes for where the string goes. If an idea comes up, we go with the flow of his desires. We’ll have a dance party, make music, and create sculptures out of blocks. We’re trying to cultivate the love of expressing your ideas, and whatever interests our son is what form that expression takes at the time.