How To Spark Creativity and Inspiration in Children

A children’s workshop with sponge paints

Janis Cox
Janis Cox
May 13 · 4 min read
Pixabay by JL G

It’s been a crazy week. I am not a spring chicken any longer and I volunteered to teach 5 classes of art in the schools this past week. The children were 4 to 6 years of age.

I had a blast.

I loved watching the kids’ enthusiasm and how they really got right into the painting.

Sometimes too much. lol :) But we only had 2 spills in 5 classes — so that’s not too bad.

In most classes, we had 25–28 children. The grade eights were called in to help and did a wonderful job. They also enjoyed making their own backgrounds.

The children listened very well to the instructions.

For artists as well as gardeners we have to have PATIENCE.

Especially with watercolour, we need to wait for it to dry unless we want the colours to bleed into other colours.

The children also listened to a story by Laurence Anholt called “The Magical Garden of Claude Monet”.

my copy of the book

We learned that an artist makes a background of his picture, then the foreground (although some artists reverse this).

Image by Pixabay Sandra Patt

And here is one of his paintings.

Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge by Claude Monet

We used liquid watercolours — Sargent Watercolor Magic — in green, yellow blue and red.

I mix the liquids half and half with water as they are very strong. They also stain hands for a period of time.

I had tried sponge painting before when I did a weekly craft activity with Tadeo Turtle. Here is the tutorial of another way to do a sponge painting.

Here is my sponge painting.

Art by Janis Cox

When the Kinders painted we had the paints in containers and used both sea sponges and synthetic sponges.

Variety of Sponges — personal photo

Then they carefully tapped the sponges into the paint and onto the watercolour paper.

Personal photo

Then the children used scissors and glue to create the foreground.

Personal photo
  1. Listen to instructions. When the children listened they actually had almost clean hands. When they didn’t their hands were quite covered.
  2. Tap with the sponge. The lesson was to tap with the sponge — not smear or hold down. The tapping gave a “Monet look” to the background.
  3. To have patience and wait their turns. We needed to put artist smocks on all the children. If the paint ran out they had to wait to be refilled.
  4. To share. They had to share the paints and sponges.
  5. To fill the page. For some of them, this was a first I think. To use the corners and the whole page.
  6. To blend colours. I loved watching them get excited seeing the colours blend into other colours.

I am now recuperating. I have one more class this week. I am excited to see what they will accomplish and how much fun they will have.

Today I decided to try my hand at using sponges to make a background and Monet to inspire me to paint.

Here is the process:

Background using a sponge — Janis Cox

I drew what I wanted to paint and used the elegant pen to outline important areas.

Elegant Pen outline on sponge painted background — Janis Cox
Elegant Pen Watercolour by Janis Cox

This story is published in Koinonia — stories by Christians to encourage, entertain, and empower you in your faith, food, fitness, family and fun.

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Janis Cox

Written by

Janis Cox

Creativity Spiritual Catalyst. Author/Illustrator. Christ Follower. FB group for artists and writers. Free Bible Art Course.



Stories by Christian writers to encourage, entertain, and empower you in your faith, food, fitness, family, friendship, and fun.

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