Here's the idea I passed on to another blogger earlier today - so if you read this on My Weblog (Molly Chicken) already, I apologize. Actually, I apologize to everyone who's ever had these ideas already published - I told you they weren't all that original, I'm just adding my own little twists here & there.
OK - you're dying to work on your own art - but the kids want every iota of your attention; they are Bored with a capital B. So gather the crayons & every scrap of paper you can find, because in a minute - NOT YET! - you're going to announce that there will be an Art Show at __ o'clock [choose the time based on a) the age & attention span of the kids - give yourself at least 1/2 an hour; b) the amount of paper you have for them to draw on - & paper bags or old newspapers can work here if need be!]
BEFORE announcing the art show - quickly get some ribbon scraps (one per child) & with a marker, write: "Winner 8 yr old div." or whatever age applies, one ribbon per child. No ribbon? No prob - just do the same thing on pieces of paper (remember - kids are not as picky as adults & usually they like it that an adult took the time to play along this far with them). But whatever you use - DO THIS BEFORE YOU EVEN TELL THEM ABOUT IT. For one thing, it piques their curiousity "What are you doing?" "You'll see in a minute, if you're quiet." (This usually will buy 3- 5 min. of semi-quiet, "What do you think she's doing?", "I dunno! Shhh!" For another, you don't want to cut into the time you're carving out for yourself by doing this while they're drawing! That's YOUR time! No matter how tempted you may be, at least the first few times, try the ribbon or paper award ONLY, to see if you can get away with it - 'cause once you've started with any add'l treat, they won't be happy without it. Much later, down the road, AFTER you've had a bajillion artshows & it's allure is wearing thin, ONLY THEN should you up the ante by attaching a stick of gum or candy with some tape to the award. Trust me on this.
Also, look around you now, for the "display area" - it can be the fridge if you have lots of magnets; along windowsills or a mantel; I've even clothespinned them onto clotheslines & shower curtains; pinned them on drapes; and paperclipped them to windowblinds. Whatever it takes; I support the arts (lol)
OK - you have your "awards" ready, you've mentally designated the exhibit space, announce the show!
The Prospectus: In order for their art to be eligible for the show, they must use at least 3 different colors & cover as much of the page as possible "to look like a painting" (this helps slow down the quick scribbler syndrome) and (if able to, yet) sign their work. They must enter at least 3 drawings to be eligible for an award. If they're in a whinier than usual mood or just stumped for ideas, give them a theme (You can give them a quick pep talk naming some subjects for the theme: say it's Halloween: Costumes, pumpkins, black cats, haunted houses, spiders, monsters, etc.) If it's not near a holiday, some other quick themes:
Superheroes; favorite toys, books or movies (create posters for them); castles, dragons & royalty (princes/princesses); amusement park rides (ones they've been on & ones they invent themselves); family portraits - a different portrait of each person in their family with things that person likes, include pets; school portraits - a picture of each person in their class (or at least their friends), include their teachers; animals (see who can come up with the most drawings of different animals - call it a wildlife show!); garden - flowers, trees, veggies, creepy crawlies.
Believe it or not, I learned you actually can buy MORE time with this one by NOT using a timer - they usually get so caught up in this activity, they'll go beyond the time you would normally allot without thinking about it. I just tell them at the beginning a time we'll have the art show
& usually they'll keep drawing right up to the deadline! Now's YOUR chance - GO! Work while you can!
Then at the appointed art show time, help them line up their work in your designated exhibit space. Ooo & aah, lots - ask them about each one. Then tell them to come back in 10 minutes (go play, pick up toys, whatever). While they're gone, choose one from each child as the best & attach the award to that one. If you have a camera, when they come back for their awards, take a picture of each child with their prize-winning picture. Not only does this boost their self-esteem & look good in their scrapbooks, you also have visual proof when they become sullen teenagers, that you DID, too, spend quality time with them!
Happy art show!