Every child is an artist. –Picasso

Art is just as important in a child’s education as math and science. Working with their hands and being able to create something unique and personal helps children build self-esteem and self-awareness. Art also keeps creative muscles strong and engaged which will benefit them in every other area of life.

Unfortunately, your child may need a little more persuading when it comes to embracing their artistic side. Perhaps you love sculpture, or just really hate macaroni art, and would love for your little genius to dive right into some molding clay or start whittling away at a block of wood, but junior is not so eager to start his sculpting career.

3 parenting tips to encourage your child to sculpt.

Sculpting is a great way to introduce your child to art and the creative process. Don’t be scared if you’ve never taken an art class. All you have to do is plant the seed of inspiration, and your child will take it from there. Here are three ways to get started:

1. Take your child to a museum.

Most museums have a sculpture area where your child can become inspired to create a work of art. If you don’t live near a museum, you can visit a museum website or just search for “sculptures” online. The Google Art Project is also a great resource for getting inspiration. You can view thousands of art pieces and even zoom in to see exquisite details. Use this time to explain the different techniques and effort that goes into making sculpture. Some famous sculptors to research are the classics like Michelangelo and Auguste Rodin and even more modern sculptors like Alexander Calder, who is known for his mobile sculptures.

2. Have different sculpting material on hand and incorporate many different techniques.

Sculpting, like most art forms today, includes many styles, techniques, and materials. Materials like cardboard, play-dough, salt-dough and even found objects like sticks and rocks can be incorporated into a sculpture masterpiece. Make an adventure out of searching your neighborhood and home for materials. You can also plan to look for sticks, rocks and leaves to use in your child’s sculpture during your next visit to the park.

3. Copy a masterpiece.

Any art form can be intimidating for a child because art is such a personal activity. It’s difficult to know where or how to begin. Having something to look at and replicate will prevent the “blank page” syndrome from taking over. A piece from Alexander Calder is great for this because his work mostly involves shapes and string. Michelangelo’s work would be better suited to replicate using play-dough or even self-hardening clay. His work is a bit more difficult, but the point is to encourage and inspire your child, not to create the next sculpting master.

As always, have fun and don’t force it, although feel free to incentivize it with positive rewards. You can try a multitude of art disciplines like painting, drawing, or even dance. At the end of the day, art might not be your child’s calling, and that’s okay; the goal is simply to inspire creativity and expression.