Thursday, October 16, 2014

For The Love Of Art #CreativeGalaxy #AmazonKids

We were invited to preview Amazon Prime Instant Video's newest episodes of the children's show Creative Galaxy.  Our household is already a fan of Amazon programming (the kids love Tumble Leaf and jb and I are excited to check out Transparent), so I was looking forward to sitting with my kids to watch this new series. Creative Galaxy follows the adventure of a young alien named Arty who solves problems with Art. The kids loved the show, and there were a few things that I, as a parent, really appreciated. 
For example:

  • Art Vocabulary: I like that the show incorporates the names of famous artists and their well known works into the dialogue. The show also covers a wide range of types of art and uses correct terminology - like pointillism when exploring making pictures with dots. 
  • Role-Models: Arty's mom is an architect and his das is often seen babywearing - I love it when characters in kids' shows go against gender stereotypes. 
  • Utilitarian Art: Art is presented as more than just something nice to look at, it can teach, inspire and be incorporated into all our basic needs, from food to shelter.
  • Appeals to a range of ages: My two year old was practicing her shapes and colors while my four year old was imagining his own pointillism creation.
  • Pervasiveness of Art: The show reminds us that art is all around us and that we are all artists.
Perhaps the best part about the show was that it got my kids excited about art. Let's face it, I can love a show - but if it doesn't hold my kids' attention it doesn't really matter. Leo (4) and Zoe (2) both enjoyed watching the show (which I expected) and afterwards they really wanted to create something inspired by the show (which was a pleasant surprise!). I’m not sure why, but Leo in particular has been reluctant to take on art projects recently. Once we introduced Creative Galaxy, he not only chose the show over some of his other favorites (and added Arty to his line up of characters to talk about), but our family also saw the return of enthusiasm over ‘arts and crafts time’ - as the kids call it.

One of the kids’ favorite episodes focused on using ‘garbage’ to create art, and they were very eager to repurpose some of our own trash. Having watched the show, they didn’t need much guidance. I set them up with some empty toilet paper rolls and pretty standard supplies like glue, pom poms and paint, and gave them creative control. Leo and Zoe both really appreciated this approach, having a bit more of a free reign with their creativity than some of the other projects we take on. So I let go of my control issues (and hopes for a not-too-sticky coffee table) and let the kids run with their imaginations as they worked on their creations. Leo made a robot complete with control panel and Zoe made a monkey - and both were very proud of their projects.

Creative Galaxy did a great job providing both inspiration and instruction. The first half of the show is a cartoon featuring Arty’s adventures, and the second half features real kids making their own art projects. It’s clear that the kids are getting off-camera direction and support, but my kids saw children working independently - and that’s what Leo and Zoe take away from it: these kids conceptualized their own project, saw it through from start to finish, and used various, sometimes ‘big kid’, tools and supplies to get there.

It’s always refreshing to find a solid new show for our rotation. The fact that Artie and Creative Galaxy have my kids requesting crafts supplies - not just another episode - when it’s over is a great bonus.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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