Children (and *ahem* adults) can sometimes be daunted by a desire for perfection when they are being creative. No matter how many times I try to convince my toddler that it doesn't matter how her drawings turn out, if they don't meet up to her expectations they inevitably end up scrunched up and thrown aside.
That's one of the reasons we love process art. As the name suggests, it focuses on the process of making, more than a fixed idea of how the final piece should look. String painting is brilliant for children - it's messy, fun and you're likely to have everything you need to do it already in the house.
What you'll need:
Paper or card
Paints or inks
String, twine, wool
How it works:
1. Fold your paper - you could fold straight down the middle, or at an angle, or even lots of folds in different directions.
2. Cut your string (or wool/twine) into shortish lengths and dip them in paint or ink. You can use a single colour for each piece of string like we did, or use multiple colours on the same piece.
3. Lay the strings on your paper, however you like. Again, you can do it one at a time or throw them all on together. Make sure that a little bit of string hangs off the edge of the paper, so that you have somewhere to pull.
4. Fold the paper over so that the strings are covered. Keep a gentle pressure down on the paper and pull the end of the string until it comes out of the paper.
5. Unfold your paper and see the patterns yours strings have made!
In this photo you can see the joy on our daughter's face when her painting was revealed. It's a lovely way for children to be creative without any pressure for it to look a certain way.
Now that they've made their first painting, encourage them to experiment - perhaps using different types of paints or inks, folding the paper different directions between strings, laying the strings in different ways - there are so many possibilities!
There are loads of videos on YouTube of people making string paintings. Here are just a couple to give you some inspiration: