The need for family engagement has touched every school district in the country. More and more, districts are developing numerous ways to engage families in the education process. The main goal is to build strong family relationships and make a significant impact on children’s development and educational success. So often, all a parent hears from their child is a few mono-syllable words indicating everything is fine. Districts want parents to hear and see more than just “fine”. Art offers a unique way to foster family engagement. Here are a few ideas to draw (no pun intended) parents into the art classroom.
1. Family Portrait Gallery
Showcasing student artwork during parent/teacher events is very common but go a step further by creating a family portrait gallery. Arm students with Ucreate Gold Frame Watercolor Paper, crayons, colored pencils, or paint and have them create portraits of their family members. You could also ask family members to do portraits of each other. This is a great activity to get families talking about their heritage and why Aunt Mabel has such big ears or why Uncle John has red hair. Consider creating a sheet of family-related questions to send home with the portrait kits to start the conversation flowing. What traits do we all have as a family? What is a unique trait only one family member has? Portraits are a fun activity that can be done in one setting or more. Once completed and returned (make sure you give a deadline). They can be put together in a family portrait gallery. The gold frame paper makes it easy because mats or frames are not necessary. This gallery can be put up to enhance an already planned event or you could create a family gallery night to unveil the portraits.
2. Family Art Night
Set aside one night a semester to bring families into your classroom to create art. It could be a project focused on painting or ceramics or other mediums. Hands-on art is a great way to get families working together. This type of event gives parents a firsthand experience in the creation process, allowing them to discover what can be learned in the art room. It also helps families understand what you are trying to accomplish in your classroom. Many families do not understand what goes into planning a daily curriculum. While they are creating, you have an opportunity to share with them your curriculum and what your plans are for the rest of the year. What a great way to get support for art in your district.
3. The Art of Mask Making
Masks historically have been created to cover one’s personal identity. In current times, masks serve a new purpose. Take this opportunity to show off one’s family identity by creating face masks unique to each family. Using face masks and fabric markers such as Crayola’s Fabric Markers (they do not have an odor) and/or crayons, have students create family-focused masks for the family to wear to the next school event. Always be careful with the products used on the masks, making sure they are safe and non-toxic. Poms and sequins can also be sewn on to the mask for added bling.
4. Silent Art Auction
We educators can all agree that we would like more money to spend on art materials for the classroom so why not put together a silent art auction for the next school/family event. Students can create the art for sale and parents can man the tables while encouraging friends and colleagues to bid on the artwork. Have students and parents search for old frames to showcase the art. Visit a thrift shop or ask friends and relatives if they have any. Students can enliven old frames with paint, glitter, glue, and decoupage. The Creativity Street Colossal Barrel of Crafts has all these products in one package. Ask students and parents what supplies they would like you to purchase with the funds raised.
These are just a few thought-starters for ways you can engage families through art while opening their minds to all the possibilities it has to offer.
More Family Engagement Art Lesson Plans & Ideas
Want to try something else? Be sure to check out these other art lesson plans and view our Art Lesson Plan collection for even more.
Chuck Close-Inspired Self Portrait
Create a Frame: Mixed Media
Share Your Star Students’ Artwork
We love student art! Give your students an opportunity to shine. Submit their artwork to be considered for our next Featured Student Artist and a chance to win a merchandise certificate worth $250 for the student and the teacher who inspired them. Original artwork from students of all grade levels is eligible and the online submission process is simple. Visit our Student Art page for details.
For Nadine, art education has been her life’s work, including an Ohio teaching license, 5 years teaching elementary art, and 19 years in higher education (teacher prep). She has served Sax for 25 years as a Category Account Manager, Art Consultant, and Subject Matter Expert. In the latter capacity, Nadine has presented at various national, state, and local conferences.
After 24 years as a college admissions director, Mary crossed over to provide the materials for art education as a member of Sax, first as manager of Inside Sales, then as National Sales Manager. Mary has overseen a team of 15 art consultants. In 2000 Mary and her team created Sax Lesson Plan Book partnerships with prominent art supplies vendors. Meanwhile, she has refined her own artful style of presentation at various national, state and local conferences.